Council chants the mantra of flood risk: “Some have commented that the risk from flooding is low and is limited simply to ‘wet feet’.” Most prominent is Judge Robin Baird who found “flooding in 2009/2010 was inconvenient and messy, but nothing more.”
• Flooding in 2009/2010 was entirely due to releases of water by BC Hydro which far exceeded its guidelines;
• The City has in the past dealt with such potential legal liabilities by simple waivers of liability.
Council cites ‘knee-deep or higher’ water in 2009/2010 — true on its face. But it is confined to sites removed/abandoned after the floods. There has since been no permanent residential occupation of these sites.
The Court concluded ‘flooding was inconvenient and messy, but nothing more.’ Ladies and gentlemen of Courtenay Council: Elvis has left the building!
Although flooding technically occurred in 2009 and 2010, a council with greater integrity and greater devotion to truth would have acknowledged floods occurred at the end of ’09 and beginning ’10; i.e., in one flood season and because of one-off special circumstances.
‘The property nearly flooded again in 2011.’ Who defines ‘nearly? The City was thoroughly thrashed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia when trying to make a case based on actual flooding in 2009/2010. Now council relies on ‘nearly?’
“We have attempted to resolve this situation outside the courts numerous times.” We challenge council to list and date the occasions on which they have made these numerous attempts.
Councillors accuse campsite owners Dali and Jin Lin of neglecting for three years to initiate applications. This is an outright lie. Council knows perfectly well why Maple Pool has been unable to submit proposals, and Council also knows the fault lies with the City’s repeated delays in providing data from its own engineering studies. The Court found there had been no delay on the part of the Lins.
Councillors are ‘disappointed’ at being ‘informed’ that no applications would be forthcoming. Neither the Lins nor their lawyers have provided any such notification.
Accusations of ignoring municipal regulations is a gross oversimplification.
Commitment to providing safe housing alternatives is marvellous, but it keeps no one from having to sleep on streets while awaiting the fruits of the City’s “commitment,” as compassionate government evolves over the centuries.
Residents are presently sheltered and fed; they are provided with medical, dental, optical and counseling services on a regular basis; councillors are “committed” to noble projects in the misty future, but have a dismal past record on such commitments. The City has no facilities whatsoever to house these residents, though it has expended huge sums on studies, consultants and websites.
Councillors claim to share the community’s concern over Maple Pool. Talk is cheap. With the exceptions of Mayor Jangula and Coun. Theos, not one member has made visited Maple Pool.
Council cites its motion to allow the property owner and residents ‘reasonable time’ to arrange for alternative housing. This motion was ludicrous on several levels. It would constitute a legal absurdity. If the City wins this case, it would have complete discretion with respect to whether, when and to what degree it would enforce.
Most citizens oppose this lawsuit and want council to stop wasting tax dollars in pursuit of an objective to which the community is angrily opposed. But council’s conception of democracy does not extend to acknowledging the wishes of the electorate. They will have to defend that position in November.
We are told that in 2007 an Alberta campground was ordered shut down by a Calgary judge due to similar concerns, but the only connection is that both campgrounds are near a river. The Alberta campground was closed due to sewage and exposed electrical wiring. No such conditions exist at Maple Pool. Having lost badly in Supreme Court, the best council can now do is to cite irrelevant cases from other jurisdictions in an attempt to persuade the Courtenay community.
— Friends of Maple Pool