A public hearing that was scheduled for Monday about a comprehensive development proposal in a large area located on Hudgrove Road in Lake Cowichan has been cancelled.
The Town of Lake Cowichan’s CAO Joseph Fernandez said the meeting was called off at the request of the applicant.
“The applicant is probably making some changes to the proposal, but we don’t know if the public hearing will be rescheduled,” Fernandez said.
“All we know for sure right now is that the public hearing that was scheduled for Monday is definitely cancelled.”
The proposal by developer Stephen Yu and the Vancouver-based Ideal Investment Co Ltd. includes approximately 1,100 units of modular, mobile and other homes, more than 24 hectares dedicated to light industrial uses, a neighbourhood centre for commercial and other uses, almost 14 hectares of parks, and 53 hectares dedicated to an environmental preservation area.
But many local residents have concerns about the proposal.
Sharon Combs said the zoning changes proposed have the potential to change Lake Cowichan forever.
She said if the proposal proceeds, it would allow for a multitude of RV parks, mobile homes and tiny houses.
“If you start to add up all that is proposed to be developed, the number of commercial vehicles, RVs, residents, workers, and everyone else who lives here that could be travelling up and down our road system is staggering,” Combs said.
“And with water shortages as the number one concern for everyone in the Cowichan Valley, this is an important issue. There is no mention of where the water for these lots will come from. There is enough land in the town already zoned for development so there is no reason to think there is a need, or going to be any kind of demand, for this project.”
A staff report on the proposal recommends that the proposal be turned down.
The report, written by consulting planner James van Hemert, said the town has a number of issues with the project.
Van Hemert said public safety is compromised with only a single point of access to the project for emergency services; the area lies within a high wildfire zone that the proposal fails to address; and the neighbourhood character and the type of housing proposed, which is a high density mix of modular homes and mobile recreational vehicles, presents an unacceptable public safety risk with respect to fire.
Van Hemert’s report also states that there is inadequate off-site infrastructure to support the proposal, and there is insufficient water system and sanitary systems capacity to support it as well.
“On the basis of a thorough review and analysis of the proposal and supporting studies, discussions with the fire department and detailed referral response from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, staff cannot recommend approval of this rezoning application,” the report concluded.
Lake Cowichan Mayor Rod Peters said the town has heard a lot of concerns from the residents over the proposal, particularly around access, taxes and water and sewer consumption.
“I also have some concerns with the type of housing proposed,” he said.
“There’s not a lot of taxes to be raised from mobile home parks so it wouldn’t help the town financially very much,” he said.