At an in-camera meeting Monday, Courtenay council voted to release the lump-sum legal costs related to the lengthy Maple Pool Campground dispute.
“The Maple Pool case was the most challenging situation I’ve faced on Council,” Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula said. “While we were extremely relieved when the case was settled late last year, we’ve continued to hear requests for more transparency on costs from members of the public. Our council has agreed that the legal costs should be released.”
From 2010 to 2016, costs totalled $240,757. The lawsuit between the City and the owners of Maple Pool, Dali and Jin Lin, was settled through mediation in November 2015, under mutually agreeable terms.
While initial legal fees were for litigation, beginning in 2015, costs were primarily for mediation and settlement of the case. Funds for legal fees are included in the City of Courtenay’s annual budget.
While the strict terms of the settlement are confidential, as part of the settlement the Lins entered into a covenant restricting the use of up to 53 sites at the campsite exclusively for affordable housing. These sites are located at the highest elevations of the property and away from the most direct path of river flows in a flood event. The owner and residents also agreed to provide waivers of liability to the City in relation to flood hazards and costs. The owners also agreed and covenanted to protect from any further development a 30-metre area for environmental and fish protection along the banks of the Tsolum River and other streams. Finally, the settlement allowed Maple Pool to operate with 23 lawfully non-conforming seasonal and short-term campsites at market rates.