Juan de Fuca gets nod to participate in CRD’s growth strategy mediation

Mike Hicks CRD asked Premier John Horgan to intervene

Mike Hicks will get a say when a mediator tries to end disputes over the Capital Regional District’s growth strategy.

Piping water to rural areas is the contentious issue in the strategy, with some CRD directors concerned about urban sprawl, especially in the Juan de Fuca area.

Hicks, CRD director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, appealed to Premier John Horgan asking him to intervene.

The province replied with Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson saying she doesn’t want to see the current non-binding mediation process, begun six months ago, drag on any longer than Nov. 30.

RELATED: Regional growth strategy process unfair to Juan de Fuca, says CRD director

CRD directors at last week’s meeting, outraged that the province was stepping in, voted to ask Robinson for an extension to allow the mediation to resolve outstanding issues with the strategy. They also voted to allow Hicks to present his case to the mediator. The mediator on Friday agreed to the request.

Earlier, Hicks was not invited to take part in mediation because he didn’t represent a municipal government, although he represents a area larger than Highlands and Metchosin.

Seven of the 13 municipalities in the CRD – Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, View Royal, Highlands, Colwood and Esquimalt – are worried that allowing CRD water to be piped to the Juan de Fuca area could lead to urban sprawl.

It’s a claim both Hicks and Sooke council disagree with suggesting local official community plans protect those areas from over development.

Hicks has always maintained there should be no barrier to water in the Juan de Fuca, which is an unincorporated area that includes the west coast of Vancouver Island from Otter Point to Port Renfrew, as well as the communities of East Sooke, Malahat and Willis Point.

Sooke faces many of the same challenges as the Juan de Fuca, said Mayor Maja Tait.

RELATED: Sooke opts into CRD regional growth strategy mediation

“We do have areas in Sooke that don’t have piped water, mainly in more rural areas. With the way the regional growth strategy is proposed we may never have water to these areas,” she said. “We do have residents now, due to climate change, that truck in their water, and it’s also a concern for firefighting in certain areas.”

The CRD set a date for mediation for Dec. 6-7, before receiving the Nov. 30 deadline letter from the province.

Hicks welcomed the opportunity to present to the mediator.

“The reality is the CRD is giving us an equal chance to be part of the mediation,” he said. “I just don’t know if it’s legal. The interesting part is what the province is going to say.”

If mediation fails, the growth strategy stalemate could be sent to binding arbitration by the province.

Hicks said he’s “100 per cent confident” that if it goes to arbitration, the decision would favour the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

The growth strategy deals with development within the CRD, including land use, ecosystem preservation, transportation, economic potential and measures to contain urban sprawl.

The strategy is supposed to be updated every five years. The proposed growth strategy has taken more than 10 years at a cost of $1 million, according to CRD staff.

Just Posted

Victoria gets back on the bike for week-long commute competition

Second Bike to Work Week hits the pavement Oct. 22 to 28

VIDEO: Tent city moves to Woodwynn Farm, arrests made

The group is asking the government to provide housing for 60 tent city members

Saanich passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Cougar spotted Saturday morning in Saanich

Police found paw prints consistent with cougars in the area

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read