Letter: Potlatch is a defining moment for Trustees

Tuesday, September 6 2016

Dear Editor,

Our OCP policy states that “the receiver parcel shall be limited to land in the Resource zone.” A Forestry zoned lot is not a Resource zoned lot. Their respective permitted density and uses are different. Yet shielded by a legal interpretation of the Local Government Act, our Trustees are poised to ignore our density transfer policy and, while pretending that rezoning to Resource is not necessary, they are about to give the Forestry lot six times its density, as though it was a Resource lot without giving the community the rezoning process required to do so.

The summary of the legal opinion our Trustees received confirms this: 

B.  The Local Trust Committee may consider density transfer proposals that do not fit the literal scope of the density transfer policies set out in the official community plan as regards the current zoning of the receiver site (in this cases, Forestry rather than Resource).

C.  With respect to density calculations, it is feasible to apply Resource zoning to the entire receiving site, despite that some of it is currently in the Forestry zone, to illustrate that the proposed density of 25 lots on the receiving lands meets the intent of the Official Community Plan density transfer policies.

In other words, legal counsel is telling our Trustees that it is okay to alter the use and the density of the Forestry lot without a bylaw amendment process. It is to be noted that the Local Government Act does not allow a local government to alter the use and density of a lot after a public hearing and a fortiori, after the adoption of a bylaw. It appears to me that Trust Counsel is advising our Trustees that it is okay to break not only our OCP policy on density transfer but the directive of the Local Government Act as well to accommodate the Potlatch proposal. It would also rob the referral agencies of the opportunity to comment on the rezoning of the Forest lot to Resource as a stand-alone process. 

It is really a defining moment for our new Trustees. I hope that they will give us the two-step process which would be the right process but which would also give the community the time to understand better the intricacies of this complex proposal. 

Yours truly,

~ Jacinthe Eastick