The District of Ucluelet hosted a virtual public hearing on April 8 to deal with an Official Community Plan (OCP) and rezoning amendment application for the properties at 316 and 330 Reef Point Road commonly known as the Lodge Property.
About 17 residents joined the Zoom Video event that stretched out over an hour and a half.
Mayor and council listened to a substantial amount of public feedback and concerns regarding the application, which would require changing the designation of the Lodge Property to Tourist Commercial.
The Lodge Property is part of a subdivision created in 1997, and the property was originally zoned R-1 Single Residential. In 2004, council adopted a bylaw to change the zoning to Guest House. According to district staff, the Lodge Property does not conform to the Guest House zoning.
Applicant Ron Clayton opened up the public hearing with brief history and photos of the Lodge Property.
“The purpose of rezoning Lot 35 is so that we can continue operating the business as we have for the last nine years,” said Clayton. If approved, Clayton continued, the Lodge would remain operating at the same capacity and the owners would invest in better landscaping, a paved driveway, a contained garbage bin, and more signage to address some neighbours concerns.
Most of the residents who spoke at the public hearing expressed a strong opposition to the rezoning.
“The problem with the Lodge is where it’s situated, and that’s in a residential neighbourhood. That’s our main objection,” said Michelle Belanger, adding that approving the application would set a very dangerous precedent.
Reef Point Road homeowner Jens Heyduck expressed his discontent.
“It’s going against a clear, statutory building scheme that is registered against each title. I really hope that mayor and council is not deferring the responsibility to us residents to start a lawsuit because this is what’s going to happen if this rezoning were to pass,” he said.
Neighbours of the Lodge Property Elisha and Andrew Dick recited a long list of discrepancies as a result of living next to the rental property, including: all night parties, garbage, dog feces, and cabin guests using their driveway as a turnaround and ruining their garden.
Hjalmer Wenstob sent an email conveying his disapproval.
“As a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member who is honoured to work and grow up on Ucluelet First Nations territory, I am dismayed at the lack of discussion and respect regarding the incredibly crucial midden location of this property. True consultation with First Nations does not involve simply sending a letter and waiting the required time frame to deem their opinion not worthy,” Wenstob wrote.
The public hearing was recorded and can be viewed on the District of Ucluelet’s YouTube channel. Mayor and council will make their final decision regarding the Lodge Property during the April 14 regular council meeting. The variances and development permits for the Cabins Property, which involves building 13 new cabins on a site already zoned for Tourist Commercial, will be brought forward at a later date.