Metchosin council adopted a bylaw Monday that will limit subdivision at the Boys & Girls Club property.
The bylaw amendment was first introduced on Feb. 24 at a special council meeting, following an application submitted by the Boys & Girls Club to divide their 98-acre property into two separate portions, which sparked controversy.
Earlier this month, a petition opposing the plans drew about 4,000 signatures, and nearly 100 vehicles rallied outside the Boys & Girls Club property to protest club plans to sell 40 acres of its 98-acre property.
During the public hearing on March 15, numerous community members voiced support for the bylaw amendment, which will limit the ability to subdivide the 40-acre lot any further. Residents said the Boys & Girls Club has not been transparent about their plans for the land, nor open to seeking other solutions or communicating about the issue, and urged for the land to be protected rather than developed.
Wayne Jensen, a director and treasurer for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Victoria Foundation, warned the decision to pass the bylaw will devalue the land, and force the organization to seek a developer and begin tree clearing and road construction within the next year.
“I want the public and members of this council to be very clear on what this vote entails. If you say yes to this bylaw amendment tonight, you will be fast tracking the development of subdivision on the land,” Jensen said.
“If you say no, or choose to adjourn this decision, you will allow for further discussions, consultations, and open the door to a land conservation organization purchasing the property, or for you to purchase it as a community asset.”
Feeling the pressure of the proposed bylaw, Jensen said the club was left with one option: to scramble to retain the value of the land, in order to continue serving future generations of children, youth and families.
“This meant doing something we never intended, submitting plans to subdivide that property into building lots. This demonstrates the flaw in this bylaw amendment. Rather than preserving this property and exercising our long timelines, this bylaw will fast-track a subdivision,” said Jensen. “I’m not sure that’s what your constituents want to hear but that’s exactly what your amendment will do.”
Jensen recommended council not pass the bylaw, or adjourn the decision to allow for further discussion over who could purchase the land.
“In listening to comments that have been said tonight, again the public has been very clear as to how they wish us to proceed with this bylaw that has been brought forward,” said Coun. Kyara Kahakuawila, adding she wished the club would have reached out to Metchosin earlier in terms of what their long-term plans were.
“Even with all that I have heard tonight in regards to the concerns that the Boys & Girls Club have raised, I cannot ignore the overwhelming support for this bylaw from our community members. My responsibility tonight is to the residents of Metchosin, and they have spoken very clearly.”
The bylaw was passed unanimously by council.
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