Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors have chosen to defer their decision regarding an application for RV use on a Roberts Creek property until the next board meeting, on May 12.
At a previous committee meeting on April 21, SCRD staff brought forward a recommendation to abandon the application that would temporarily allow the use of four RVs on a private property at 1220 Lockyer Road, and instead wind down the use in six to 12 months through a compliance agreement. At that meeting, rural directors voted four to one in favour of the new course of action.
But at the April 28 board meeting, SCRD board chair Darnelda Siegers pulled the motion to be discussed, citing a conflict with a previous recommendation the board adopted in March to allow the application to move forward to second reading and a public hearing. As staff cannot act on both recommendations, a decision had to be made.
“Some of the directors indicated that they would perhaps like a little more time to look at both recommendations and the process we have to follow,” Siegers said, adding that the directors received information about the process just before the board meeting.
The rural directors voted three to one (Area A director Leonard Lee did not vote, and was counted as being in favour) to defer the decision on whether to stick to their original motion, or reconsider it and move forward with the new staff proposal.
Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt had been the only director to vote against the ‘wind down’ proposal at the April 21 committee meeting. At board, she said she would prefer to defeat the motion and go ahead with the second reading and public hearing.
“As far as I'm concerned, we could defeat this recommendation number 10 now, because it shouldn't have been made without the other reconsideration brought forward first process-wise,” Pratt said.
Roberts Creek director Andreas Tize voted against deferring the motion. “I’d rather get this done today,” he said. “I thought we were delaying because we want to hear from the public, but that doesn’t sound like it, it sounds like we’re just waffling.”
Pratt said that if the directors wanted to hear from the public, they would let it go through the public hearing process.
After the vote, Siegers (who is not eligible to vote on the issue) addressed the public commentary around the Lockyer application.
“Unfortunately, there are some who are saying that the SCRD is essentially evicting people. This is not the case,” Siegers said. She outlined the process the application has been through so far, starting nearly two years ago and including public SCRD meetings and reports in November and March, and a public information meeting held by the applicant in January.
“There have been plenty of opportunities for voices to be heard and views considered on this proposal, and we have heard from many,” she said. “This is not a single issue around housing. This application deals with bylaws, compliance, environmental, and human health and safety issues. To infer that this is a straightforward situation could not be further from the truth. It is a complex application.”
Siegers pointed to nine proposed conditions the applicant would have to meet for an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment, and the requirements of other agencies: Vancouver Coastal Health, local First Nations and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“It is unfortunate that the applicant didn't come forward to the SCRD before implementing his plans. This application came to staff and board attention after the owner went forward with his changes and allowed people to live on his property,” Siegers continued. She pointed to concerns the SCRD has since received.
“We all understand the pressure has been placed on our region by using by housing affordability and population growth. This issue is bigger than one application and this one property. This requires us to look at how we address this throughout the Sunshine Coast Regional District as it affects many similar properties that we are aware of but that we have not yet been asked to deal with,” she said. “Our board recognizes the need to prioritize changes to our planning in order to look at the current and future needs of this region. Applications such as this one shine a light on this pressing need. Our planning department is in the midst of making changes to our bylaws and official community plans in an attempt to deal with these, and residents will help hear more about these changes in the coming months – in fact, in the next few weeks.”