The City of Courtenay has decided to proceed with its legal
action against the owners of Maple Pool Campground.
The case was back in Supreme Court in Nanaimo. The city
wants an enforcement order against the site’s owners – Jin Lin
and Dali Lin – to bring the use of the property into compliance
with its zoning bylaws.
The hearing that was originally slated to take place in Oct. 15,
2012 was delayed for six months after counsel for both sides
mutually agreed to work together to find an amicable solution.
The hearing was rescheduled for April 29 this year.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by Peter Crawford,
Courtenay director of development services, the city agreed to
adjourn the hearing of the case twice to allow Maple Pool
owners to come up with a proposed solution and submit an
Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendment
application to the city. And that to date the city has not received
any proposals from the owners.
Local businessman Dale Bishop, who has been volunteering his
time and expertise to help the Lins, filed a counter-affidavit and
in it, he pointed out omitted materials from Crawford’s affidavit.
Bishop wrote that when the city adjourned the lawsuit, a meeting
was held with the participation of Mayor Larry Jangula, and
members of council that included Starr Winchester and Doug
Hillian. Also in attendance were representatives of the
Courtenay business community, who had volunteered to provide
the machinery, labour and fill required for the reconfiguration of
the site that would allow for the rezoning of Maple Pool at their
own cost.
It was agreed that Bishop and Crawford work together to
produce a detailed plan, which would support an eventual
rezoning application and official plan amendment that would
allow the property to be home to 56 residents.
Bishop added legal action would be held in abeyance as long as
there was continuing progress in consultation between him and
Crawford. There was no timeline given and Bishop said they
were waiting for new flood data from the city but never received
it.
Without the engineering data, Bishop said they were unable to
make an assessment and proceed with any plans. It is the sole
reason why they have been unable to make progress on a
rezoning application. They were then accused of inaction and
failure to take steps.
Bishop indicated that in an agreement with Crawford, he drafted
a report to city council and submitted it on June 12 to be placed
on the agenda of an in camera meeting of council that was held
on June 17. But it was never filed.
Bishop alleged the new Chief Administration Officer David Allen
received the progress report from Crawford but made a
conscious decision not to present it to the mayor and council.
When contacted by the Echo, Allen said he is unable to
comment on the case because it is now before the court.
Jangula, however, is personally disappointed to see the case
back in court. He said he was away for the June 17 meeting and
does not know why council and management decided not to
include the report in the agenda.
“In essence, council has not agreed to any more adjournments,”
said Jangula. “I am not in favour of this action. (But) I have one
vote.”
Maple Pool is home to more than 50 low-income people. If the
city is successful in enforcing the zoning bylaw, it could result in
the campground closing down and leaving the residents
homeless.
The city, at present, has no system in place that will provide
shelter or protection to the homeless.
The city claimed the campground to be legal non-conforming
ever since it was annexed in 2002. But recent flooding in the
area has raised safety concerns that led the city to attempt to
use the courts to legally enforce a zoning bylaw that would not
allow people to live year-round in the campground.
There is a consortium of around 12 leading Courtenay
businesses that are ready to help and do the construction work
at Maple Pool. They are eager and ready to donate machinery,
tools, trucks, labour and landfill to bring the Maple Pool into
compliance.
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