Plans not written in stone

I respectfully remind folks LAPs are not written in stone.

Plans not written in stone

Dear North Cowichan mayor and council:

I appreciate the concerns of some Bell-McKinnon Road residents regarding potential changes to the Local Area Plan (LAP), containing community input concerning our new $887-million hospital.

However, as a taxpayer funding this project, I respectfully remind folks LAPs are not written in stone.

Such plans are living documents. They are blueprints for complex projects loaded with with zoning, infrastructure, mistakes, planning procedure changes, development permits, traffic issues, and especially environmental concerns.

Council is correct to question how our new hospital — with exact bed numbers sadly still in limbo — and nearby residential areas could spawn sprawl, water fouling, traffic snarls, tree loss, air and noise pollution and much more.

Councillors are elected and paid to have open minds that are subject to change when and if new information surfaces about all sizes and prices of public projects and plans.

Councillors Christoper Justice, Kate Marsh and others on council rightly appear to be exercising that elastic thinking regarding our new CDH as it moves toward reality.

“Tweaking” is what Coun. Marsh correctly called it as reported in the March 18 Citizen.

For residents such as the Jacksons to call our LAP “bait-and-switch”, or a “trick”, by council is misdirected unless they and other residents were given legal guarantees that the LAP would not change in any way.

Those guarantees would have to be written, not simply verbal, assurances during public input meetings and staff consultations.

If that’s the case, please produce those written guarantees.

To be clear, our new — let’s call it a $1-billion — hospital is a massive undertaking that will change the face of Cowichan and its outlaying areas forever.

As such, changes, even small ones, are an inevitable reality as our new hospital — and its surrounding developments — progress.

Our LAP is different in lots of ways compared to our new official community plan (OCP) still under discussion. And even our OCP can be interpreted (witness the turgid Donnay Drive project) rightly or wrongly by council.

Such is also the case with CDH’s LAP.

Folks standing to potentially profit from property-value increases as our new hospital progresses can’t realistically count their chickens before they hatch.

The endgame here must be a new hospital, with some overdue infrastructure upgrades and affordable housing.

Viewing our new medical facility merely as an economic sparkplug, job- and tax-generator is fatuous, film-flam at least.

For nearly $1 billion of our money, I fairly expect our new hospital to be completed to the smartest, thriftiest abilities of our council, provincial ministries and residents for the sake of everyone.

That includes patients, for whom this project is really be built in the first place.

Peter W. Rusland

Duncan-North Cowichan


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

Just Posted

This Earth Day, Cowichan Valley residents are being asked to clean up where they are. (File photo)
Cowichan ‘Clean Where You Are’ campaign starts on Earth Day

Take a bag, one glove, long tongs, and go pick up!

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read