As many of you are aware, there has been growing concern regarding the manner in which subdivision development in Halfmoon Bay has been proceeding. Leading up to and following Lori Pratt’s webinar on March 23rd, a group of citizens came together to collect and document information, meet with officials, and determine the next course of action in terms of ensuring a) adherence to current regulations, by-laws, etc. and b) that any gaps in the process are addressed to mitigate the same kinds of issues going forward. Following a meeting with this group’s representatives (Alistair Higson and Darlene Tymo) and the Presidents of the Halfmoon Bay Community Association and Environmental Society, a letter was sent to Dean McKinley (SCRD CAO), Darnelda Siegers (SCRD Chair), and Ashok Bhatti (MoTI Regional Director) (with cc’s to MLA Simons, Area B Director Lori Pratt, the SCRD Board) requesting a court stop work order.
On April 6th, a very lively Town Hall was held with MLA Nicholas Simons and Area B Director Lori Pratt (with Donna Bell, Constituency Assistant to MP Patrick Weiler, also in attendance). While the April 1st letter has not yet been responded to, Lori Pratt has indicated that the SCRD Board meets on April 14th and it is our hope that this item is on their agenda.
At the Town Hall, both Nicholas and Lori were very attentive to the concerns of the citizens. Due to the ongoing investigations at both the Regional District and Provincial levels, they were unable to discuss specifics. Nicholas stated [paraphrased] “I can tell you that the concerns raised by members of the community that were relayed very clearly and very directly to me have been relayed to ministry officials and the actions that they take will be in accordance with their regulations and legislation. I can also say that appropriate officials at the regional district are undertaking investigations on a number of different aspects of the concerns that were raised.” The citizens’ group will continue to put pressure on the officials to come to speedy conclusions of their investigations.
Our focus is of course on the developments that are underway, however, it is clear that urgent changes to several policies (such as tree-cutting) are needed, gaps in by-laws need to be closed, and environmental considerations need to be at the forefront of any decisions regarding subdivision development – before the Sunshine Coast is decimated and lives severely impacted by the results of this type of development. Both Lori and Nicholas mentioned the need to revisit the Halfmoon Bay Official Community Plan, and that its time to develop a regional growth strategy for the future.
The audio link to the Town Hall can be found here (click on Download; once you’ve finished listening, you can delete it from your files to free up space if you wish):
As well, I have a very rough “audio to text” transcript if anyone is interested (its 23 pages long, using the dictation feature in Word so it’s a bit rough, but you might find it useful – send me an email if you wish to receive it – firstname.lastname@example.org). In the coming days, I’ll put together a follow-up document, including unanswered questions in the “chat” for follow-up at the appropriate governmental level.