Some residents of Tuwanek questioned the legality of a move by the District of Sechelt to swap their liquid waste management plan (LWMP) for registration under the municipal wastewater regulation (MWR) recently.
“Abandoning a policy in the OCP (official community plan) by replacing the liquid waste management plan with the wastewater regulation really does require a change in the OCP bylaw with applicable consultation and public hearing, and I’m wondering when council intends to hold such consultation,” Tuwanek resident Shirley Kuciuk asked during a special council meeting on Aug. 28.
Kuciuk has successfully sued the District of Sechelt in the past for lack of consultation around changes to do with Target Marine Hatcheries.
Sechelt Mayor John Henderson told Kuciuk she was wrong about the need for consultation in this instance.
“It’s not correct that there’s an application to hold public hearings in respect of an LWMP process that we’re not pursuing,” Henderson said. “We’re working with the advice of the Ministry of Environment and we’re fulfilling all of their requirements. We’re not changing the policy. In this case we’re adopting a higher standard. The MWR is a higher standard than contemplated under the LWMP.”
The following week Lynne Forrest made a presentation at the Sept. 4 council meeting outlining the same type of concerns on behalf of the Tuwanek Ratepayers Association (TRA).
She said the MWR is “inconsistent with our OCP policies” and pointed to the newly approved Eden development with its package treatment plant as something that should not be allowed under the LWMP and current OCP guidelines.
“It is our position that residents in other Sechelt neighbourhoods share the same belief that OCP policies determine future uses allowed in their area and that these policies cannot be changed without direct input through public consultation,” Forrest said. “Public consultation conducted via the courts is a poor and expensive substitute for everyone.”
In a follow up email to Coast Reporter, Henderson wrote, “I don’t have much to say about Mrs. Forrest’s comments to council last week. There was little that council and the public haven’t heard before. While Mrs. Forrest is entitled to her views, council is elected to make decisions in the best interests of all of Sechelt. We have done that and it’s time to move on to make Sechelt even better.”