In the letter appended here, residents of Qualicum Bay and Bowser are assured by John Les, Minister of Small Business and Economic Development that Bill 75 won’t be used … Hold on. Let me read that again…
Well, actually, Les doesn’t suggest Bill 75 won’t be used. Instead, he is assuring us that it will be used if a project and a developer show up with enough money, and a big enough project. Bill 75 will be the tool used to expedite regulatory and permitting processes.
Pick your project. If not this 2500 home golf resort development in Bowser/Qualicum Bay, then something related to the Olympics, perhaps. Or a new mine. Or perhaps one of these:
- Jumbo Ski Resort
- Elk Valley Coal Corporation Generation Project
- Site C Dam & Generation Station
More about Bill 75 at Dogwood Initiative: Bill 75 draws municipal fire
—Letter from John Les—
Parksville Qualicum Bay News
May 11, 2004
I am responding to Richard Boyce’s April 30 [column], Sensitive Nile Creek meets development head on.
Contrary to Mr. Boyce’s assertions, I can assure residents of Qualicum Bay and Bowser that Bill 75 is not intended to routinely override local government decisions. Nor is Bill 75 being used as a scare tactic.
Instead, this bill provides for a streamlined review and decision-making process by impassing an equal discipline on both provincial and local approval authorities to expedite important projects of provincial significance.
The Act provides a mechanism for streamlining the process that too often bogs down projects deemed to be of economic, social or environmental benefit to British Columbians. However, the Act does not guarantee a project will receive approval.
The Significant Projects Streamlining Act is about creating economic opportunities and jobs for British Columbians.
Under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell, this government will not stand by while jobs and economic prosperity in our province fall by the wayside because of government approval processes that can take years to navigate.
The object of Bill 75 is to ensure potential investors receive answers to their proposals in a timely manner. Investors mean economic opportunities for British Columbia, and economic opportunities create jobs.
When major projects that will provide significant environmental, social or economic benefits to British Columbia come knocking, we will ensure that government red tape does not drive them to invest their dollars elsewhere.
Minister of Small Business and Economic Development
—Letter to which Les is responding—
Don’t forget about Bill (now Law) 75. If Dave Bartram continues his stance of holding up our OCP in the face of this Bowser/QBay Golf Resorts Development; and they cannot modify the project to fit into the OCP……the government could sell the land only without a project in mind, and then if the developer meets resistance from the RDN regarding his plans…..the developer could then apply to the Province to help him Streamline his Significant Project via the enactment of Bill 75. It has not been done yet, but this project is the Largest Ever Proposed on Vancouver Island. That makes it Significant for the whole Province and they did create that law for some reason. This just might be the reason. We have been told the Province will not enact bill 75 upon us (by the Premier, Gillian Trumper and lots of others). That is true. It will be the developer that requests it be enacted. That is how Andrew Gage, Environmental Law Lawyer explained the issue. A developer could get Bill 75 used to push through a project in Bowser/Qualicum. Ask the RDN that question and see if its true.
One of the interesting things that Mr. Gage pointed out in his talk at Comox the other evening was that the list of LWBC lands for sale on Vancouver Island is very long, and the list for properties located in other parts of the province is barely a list.
Andrew pointed out that as Real Estate Agents, LWBC will zero in on an area where there is interest, sell a piece of land; then look next door and offer more land for sale over and over again until the sales die down and/or the land is all sold. Vancouver Island has become a hot spot. And they (LWBC) are going to sell it off and collect their 20%+- commissions.
My concern is not only about the 1,200 h of land being sold for the Resorts. A lot of attention has been directed to this issue. 2500 residential type units here. biggest development on the island so far.
My concern is about the other 3,800 h that they are selling next door to the golf resorts.
What will that land be used for ? What kind of proposal are they holding back for these lands ? What is up in those lands ? Is there enough water? 7500 residential type units to be built here ? Disney Land North ??
Do we as local citizens have a right to question the sale of these lands?