Victoria, BC – The Capital Regional District has been unsuccessful in an appeal of the BC Supreme Court's December 2008 decision regarding Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) local area planning bylaws and the voting arrangement in the area.
The appeal's decision renders a number of interim bylaws invalid, which were passed in response to the release of 28,000 hectares of land, owned by Western Forest Products (WFP) from Tree Farm Licenses 6, 19 and 25 on Vancouver Island by the Minister of Forests. The bylaws were passed in order to give more time for planning and development decisions by the JDF community Land Use Committee and in consultation with the community, allowing concerns about rural subdivisions to be addressed.
"Responsible, sustainable decisions for the Juan de Fuca Forest Lands are imperative for the protection of our region's rural resource lands," said CRD Board Chair Geoff Young. "I am disappointed that the verdict did not uphold the CRD's interpretation of the Local Government Act."
In February 2009 the CRD reverted to its previous voting arrangement of Committee A and B of the CRD Board, which vote on local land use recommendations made by the JDF Land Use Committee. The Land Use Committee, comprised of the JDFEA Director and six locally nominated residents, provides advisory recommendations to the Board. This arrangement replaced the contractual participation arrangement previously in place, which was at issue in the litigation.
As a result of the court decision, the CRD will now revert to the pre-existing bylaws for JDF which included a 120 hectare minimum parcel size for the resource areas, but do not include land use regulations that would otherwise regulate development on the lands. In addition, within the local community planning areas, zoning will revert to permit minimum parcel sizes of ten acres for rural and forestry lands. The potential for strata subdivision will also exist.
Over the last six months, the communities and interested parties in JDF have been working with CRD staff to complete a new Rural Resource Lands Official Community Plan. The plan, which is currently at second reading, will establish new community planning and zoning regulations for the rural resource lands in JDF. It is due to go to public hearing in Fall 2009. This plan will replace some of the interim provisions established by the amendment bylaws put in place by the CRD in December 2008.
The CRD is committed to working with landowners in the JDFEA whose properties were affected by the previous bylaws. "We have spent the last six months consulting with the community on the Rural Resource Lands," said JDFEA Director Mike Hicks, "I believe our planning department is ready to tackle these land use issues." Additional Information:
Read the Appeal Court's Decision
JDF Court Case Backgrounder
For more information, please contact:
Sheila Taylor, Manager, Community Relations
Corporate Communications, CRD