Sharon Rankin, Penny Lane resident, asks if riparian rules will be followed this time. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

VIDEO: Neighbours worried about plan to build four tiny houses in Lake Cowichan subdivision

Drainage worries, concerns about emergencies, and lack of overall information make meeting tense

Developer Laurie Leblanc has leapt the first hurdle towards his plan to build four tiny houses at Penny Lane subdivision near the Cowichan River.

Lake Cowichan town council has approved changes in the official community plan.

But, they refused to go that last step and OK changes to the zoning bylaw after a tense public hearing, in which neighbours presented a wide variety of concerns about the plan.

Leblanc has approval to build on the site. It’s just the idea of four more homes that is bothering people.

At the public meeting in council chambers on Jan. 30, owners of nearby properties charged council with not supplying enough information about flood water from the nearby river in an area where there have been problems before, how fire and emergency equipment could get in to an already congested area, whether the houses would be sold or rented, what will happen to the big old trees in the subdivision, and more.

Leblanc said the idea of tiny houses was to both use “less of a footprint” and “use up the rest of the area” as well as providing more housing for the town. The Penny Lane development dates back to 2007.

When asked by Mark Martin, a Somenos resident, if the trees were on his land or town land, Leblanc answered “good question” but added he thought they were on municipal land.

Sharon Rankin, a Penny Lane resident, explained to council that drainage was already a problem there.

“I have two pumps running there now,” she said. Another concern she raised was about the need for building according to the 200-year-floodplain, which would lift the tiny homes two feet above their neighbours.

Run-off from them had to go somewhere, and she was worried about where it would go, she said.

However, there seemed to be few specific answers for the anxious residents.

Mayor Ross Forrest and Lake Cowichan CAO Joe Fernandez said that the rules would be followed and building inspection would follow the regulations as well, so that there would be safeguards.

However, the sheer number of residents who came out to the hearing, and their questions led to councillors taking a step back and deciding not to approve the zoning bylaw changes until their next meeting.

The Cowichan River, currently running high, is right beside the subdivision, adding its own chorus to the that of local residents.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Mark Martin, of Somenos Avenue, appears unconvinced by what he hears at public hearing. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Old trees at Penny Lane subdivision are a concern for one neighbour. Will they be removed when tiny houses are squeezed in? (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Neighbours, concerned about the nearby Cowichan River, ask developer and council what will be done to alleviate further flooding in the area. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Just Posted

Chris Wilkinson column: An ode to my caregiver

You help keep me safe. You help keep me strong.

Stevenson reflects on her seven years as Chemainus Elementary School principal

Strong community and parent support for the school always evident during her tenure

Drivesmart column: Advisory bike lanes: what should you do?

Imagine a narrow road that has no markings at all used by drivers

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read