Concerns surrounding bylaw enforcement over environmental degradation brought out a sizable crowd of Metchosin residents to the district’s council meeting on Monday.
At issue was transparency related to enforcement of bylaws over soil dumping on Mount Ash and delays in getting related freedom of information requests fulfilled.
Metchosin resident Jay Shukin praised public works before outlining the dates of a series of emails he sent to the district requesting information on the soil depositing by a private resident on the mountain.
Shukin sent the initial email on Nov. 27 regarding the investigation into the depositing of fill. He said he received an email this week saying the clock had stopped on the request on Dec. 17. The district could have indicated the clock had stopped earlier, he told council. He was asked to pay fees for the request and subsequently filed a request to waive them, he said.
Shukin added that he contacted CRD asking about fees related to freedom of information requests, who told him they were only required in rare circumstances and gave an example of two out of every 100 requests.
Shukin emphasized that residents shouldn’t need to beg for the information he requested.
A clutch of residents concerned about the impacts of the deposit came to the meeting to find out why bylaw action was not taken.
Mayor John Ranns said the district is “constantly reassessing” the soil bylaw and the program is in stage three in planning.
Ranns said he was being facetious about banning soil dumping in the area, and added that he didn’t have the authority to do so.
Coun. Marie-Tèrèse Little said she is looking forward to the upcoming bylaw workshop when asked by a resident what they were doing to further inform themselves about the issue during question period.