The Nov. 16 decision by North Cowichan council to rescind adoption of a rezoning bylaw for a controversial high density development on Donnay Drive will hopefully mark the turning point for a problematic approval process that has also plagued other communities in the Valley.
Debacles over Berkey’s Corner, Echo Heights, the historic Maple Tree and the ongoing contamination of Quamichan Lake are examples of a municipal process that is not working, not only for those neighbourhoods being directly affected, but for the Valley as a whole.
The current municipal process appears centered on accelerating the generation of tax dollars at the expense of recognizing the social needs of the communities involved and the environmental impacts. The results have been the problems and angst suffered by individual communities throughout the region and in some cases creating division between neighbours.
Mayor Jon Lefebure showed character and leadership to re-think his position and vote against the Donnay development proposal in its present form.
The Donnay proposal will now go back to the status of second reading that will hopefully lead to undertaking proper impact assessments and engagement by the community into a mutually acceptable design. He urged council to “take the time to enact a planning process” for the Donnay proposal and cited policy statements from the Official Community Plan recognizing the need for supporting services, core community values and protection for the environment.
The North Cowichan Official Community Plan is currently under review including revised locations for about a dozen Urban Containment Boundaries. Now is the time for other communities to become engaged in this historic process in the Valley.
Neil Anderson, director
Quamicham Lake Neighbourhood Association