Metchosin council introduced a bylaw Wednesday that, if passed, would limit the subdivision at the Boys and Girls Club property.
A recent application submitted by the Boys and Girls Club to divide the 98-acre property into two separate portions, has sparked controversy, with residents concerned the land will be sold and subdivided further.
As it stands, the zoning for the property only allows for one building. The current application for subdivision would essentially split the property in two, and allow for two dwellings – one on each section of land. Under Metchosin’s land-use bylaw, the 40-acre portion in question is a legal subdivision and does not require rezoning. The decision goes to an approving officer, not council.
Should the Boys and Girls Club receive approval, it would be up to them to decide how to further proceed with the land. The approximately 40-acre parcel could potentially allow for up to eight lots, five acres each, if the owner put in another subdivision application.
A special council meeting was held Wednesday afternoon, where council gave first and second reading to a land use bylaw amendment, which would limit the ability to subdivide the 40-acre lot any further.
“There was public outcry to stop the piece of property from being developed into five-acre lots,” said Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila, chair of Metchosin’s Planning Standing Committee. “Any time a municipality undertakes a down-zoning there is a risk. It is something we have considered but we feel introducing this bylaw is consistent within our vision of our OCP.”
A public hearing will be held on March 15 to discuss the bylaw.
“This is the start of a process, but we are very open to discussion. If Boys and Girls Club would come to us with whatever options they would like to see or propose, we would love to speak with them,” said Kahakauwila.
Kahakauwila noted that council will keep an open mind through the public hearing process, and wants to receive input from all sides before making a final decision.
“It is very important this process is followed properly. Land owners have rights, and citizens have a right to be heard as well, that’s why this process happens – to ensure all sides are considered,” said Kahakauwila.
The Boys and Girls Club has been operating since 1984 on the land, on loan from the provincial government. In 2004 the organization purchased the property for $1.6 million. In a press release, the club says it purchased the property at a time when significant youth justice needs required space for wilderness and nature programming. But since then, changes in young offender laws and youth needs have reshaped priorities.
An online petition to stop the subdivision has garnered more than 3,900 virtual signatures.
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