Development moratorium motion must be rejected
“You may delay, but time will not” — Benjamin Franklin
The Municipality of North Cowichan councillor Justice has prepared a motion which is built around “climate emergency” requiring immediate action. The motion calls for the cessation of ALL further development and construction until a plan that fosters walkable “compact energy efficient communities” is developed to accommodate changing climate. All future subdivision applications shall be rejected as not being in the public interest until a new OCP is in place, which is estimated will not be completed before two years have elapsed. (Note: language taken from the proposed motion.)
In addition, the motion proposes “North Cowichan planning staff are to encourage applicants for amendments to the OCP and/or Zoning Bylaw in relation to any of the Lands to defer consideration of their applications until after North Cowichan has completed its review of the OCP, and that, where the applicants are not agreeable to deferring consideration of their applications, all such applications are to be brought to Council at the earliest opportunity for consideration by Council and direction as to whether Council wishes to proceed, or Council wishes to deny the application without further review.”
I do not believe council are qualified to assume the roles of the municipal staff. The process of applications, approvals and so forth are a rules-based process.
I must ask, how will council determine which applications may be approved? Without rules, is there a risk of bias in judgement influencing any or all decisions? Is this in the best interest of the public? Without a detailed explanation the motion, as presented, must be rejected.
One final point, the Local Government Act (s 14.473) states that an official community plan must consider how residential development will meet anticipated housing needs for at least the next five years. (source: CVRD Regional Collaboration Framework – May 2018. Page 31)
How will council fulfill its duty called for above if the motion proceeds?