In their third attempt, opponents of a proposed RV campground at Fanny Bay on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, have persuaded regional district directors to reject the plan, the Comox Valley Echo reported.
Residents in the Holiday Road area have attended three Comox Valley Regional District meetings to press their case against the development proposed in their neighborhood by River Dam Holdings.
A decision had been put off twice before, but now the electoral areas services committee had overruled staff advice and voted to reject the plan.
The vote will need confirmation at next week’s full board meeting before residents can be sure they have won their arguments against granting a development permit for the work.
Once endorsed by the board, there is no regional district appeal process the applicants could pursue, and they would not be allowed to resubmit a “substantially similar” development permit application for at least 12 months.
Planning staff had told directors as the land was properly zoned – and had been for around 30 years – they were being asked to consider specific issues such as how the site should be serviced and landscaped, not the general issue of land use.
However, they could impose certain conditions on the site’s operation, including requiring a covenant to legally limit how long people could stay there.
The application involved creating 38 RV sites and five tent sites along with a multipurpose building and a caretaker’s residence.
Residents argued it would be a wholly inappropriate use for the area, and would lead to problems ranging from security to access issues.
Landowner Amandio Santos told the committee he was perplexed that it was proving difficult to get the application through when he was complying with all the requirements being asked of him.
But Area A director Bruce Jolliffe — who represents the neighbourhood — said the zoning was “somewhat surprising” and dated back to speculation in the late 1970s associated with the Inland Island Highway.
In the years since then, he argued the official community plan had clarified what was appropriate tourist development for rural areas, and he did not believe the proposed RV campground fit the criteria.
Furthermore, the residents of the area had raised a number of relevant concerns on practical issues like safety, access, water supplies and waste disposal.
Area C director Edwin Grieve said he was a great proponent of encouraging the development of more tourist accommodation in the Comox Valley, but having visited the area he thought the particular zoning was an anomaly.
And, he added, “there are some very serious concerns for people in that area if this goes ahead.” Accordingly, he was prepared to defer to the judgment of the local director and oppose the development.