Friends’ proposal bids to break Maple Pool deadlock


The Maple Pool campground on Headquarters Road

Senior staff at City Hall are assessing a proposal that might help break the deadlock in the high-profile dispute over the Maple Pool campground.
Last month elected officials on Courtenay Council agreed staff should meet with representatives of the ‘Friends of Maple Pool’ on a “without prejudice” basis to see if anything had changed that might impact the ongoing litigation over the residential use of the site.
Chief administrative officer David Allen has now confirmed to the Echo that he, along with the City’s director of planning services, Peter Crawford, and the senior manager of engineering, Lesley Hatch, met last week with Mike Hamilton and Andrew Gower, representing the Friends.
A proposal was put forward by the Friends and that was being assessed by City Hall staff prior to Allen reporting back to Council, likely on July 7 at an ‘in camera’ meeting, where he would seek direction on whether further action was appropriate.
Hamilton also confirmed to the Echo that a proposal had been presented to try to move toward resolution of the issue, but no details are being released at this stage to allow staff time to assess the implications and follow up for more information if needed.
In the past Hamilton and a group of other business people in town have offered to carry out substantial work to raise the level of land on which trailers currently housing 57 vulnerable residents are positioned in order to mitigate the possibility of future flooding.
But the municipality had suggested that action in one location could have negative implications on properties elsewhere if there is a flood, and have been keen to see that wider issue addressed. Recent hydrological mapping commissioned by the City has been shared with the group to help supporters assess any ideas they might have.
Gower is a local civil engineer well versed in drainage and flood prevention issues, so his attendance at last week’s meeting is seen as significant.
There is, however, still the fundamental issue of site zoning as far as the City is concerned.  The site owners, Jin and Dali Lin, consider the zoning they had while under the former jurisdiction of Comox Strathcona Regional District allows then to use the site for its present purpose, and if necessary the City should determine that the campground is an acceptable “non conforming” use going forward.
The City has taken a very different view, and in its court submissions has gone so far as to suggest the whole site be dismantled, including removal of the water and electricity hook-ups to the various sites.
But with civic elections coming up in November, when all seven seats are likely to be contested, an attempt to try to resolve the issue in a face-saving way could be underway.

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