Public reacts to QC community plan

  • Jun. 3, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Around eight people attended a formal public hearing on Queen Charlotte’s Official Community Plan at the Eric Ross Room on Monday night. Mayor Carol Kulesha read out the protocol for the evening, noting that everyone would be given the opportunity to speak twice, but the role of councillors would be to listen to the public’s viewpoints only – not to debate the topics arising. The information received would become part of the official record of the OCP process. Several people spoke about an issue that came up at the last council meeting on May 16. Four lots in Skidegate Landing have been left as rural residential, even though they were identified as having commercial purposes – storage of wood and equipment – during the planning process. Patrick McDonald of Watchmen Forest Products provided a written submission asking that the lots be classified as commercial and three residents spoke in favour of the lots being designated commercial. Fran Fowler of Queen Charlotte was one of these people. She was also at the May 16 meeting when the council made its decision to keep them residential. She couldn’t understand why that happened, especially since according to information provided at that meeting, the size of the lots were too small to be used for residential purposes. “It mystified me at the last meeting,” she said. Joanne Ames spoke as a delegate for Watchmen Forest Products. “As a business, we are concerned that the use is recognized. Putting a different colour on the map doesn’t change that use,” she said. She said there may have been a misunderstanding about the possibility of changing the use, but that will not happen. Allan Cowan also spoke. He was concerned about the definition of bed and breakfasts and about several mentions promoting the use of the foreshore adjacent to private land for commercial boat launching activities. He said the several references to boat launching, be it non-motorized or motorized, “is not consistent with protecting the environment” also mentioned as a motherhood statement in the document. He also pointed to Schedule C, which marks the shoreline as a sensitive area all along the waterfront, except around the log sort. He wanted that changed. There should be no marine activities or other activities in that area, he said. He also questioned the size of the industrial area marked around the log sort and said that represented a 1970s foreshore lease held by a logging company. “It is not up to date,” he said. Council will decide whether amendments to the OCP must be made after hearing these submissions at the next council meeting on June 6. If they decide to amend the bylaw they must rescind second reading, make the changes and hold another public hearing. Otherwise the document will be given third reading that night and possibly passed. Giving fourth reading to a bylaw at the same meeting as third reading is unique to the OCP and zoning bylaws as the immediate passing of the law stops people from trying to change the use of their properties within the two week waiting period for the next council meeting.

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