Courtenay council pausing lawsuit against campground

Courtenay council has agreed to a six-month delay on court action regarding a zoning bylaw for Maple Pool Campsite.

The City of Courtenay announced today that council has agreed to a six-month delay on court action to enforce the zoning bylaw regarding land use at the Maple Pool Campground.

The current court hearing date, set for Oct. 15 has been adjourned by mutual consent of the lawyers representing the City and the owners of Maple Pool, to the week of April 29, 2013.

Acting Mayor Doug Hillian said the Maple Pool situation has been challenging.

“The current activity and use of the Maple Pool property has been a very difficult situation for council members. The legal case meant we were restricted from speaking publicly,” he noted.

“We hope this decision to delay court proceedings will send a clear message that Council is willing to work toward a satisfactory resolution of the current land use issue that will be legally acceptable in the long term.”

Council has received expressions of interest from various individuals and businesses, showing a willingness to pool their resources to raise the land at Maple Pool to a level above the flood plain. Maple Pool is situated on the bank of the Tsolum River.

The City is guided by a Floodplain Mapping Agreement, jointly completed by the federal and provincial governments, and adopted by City council, which determines floodplain elevations for properties along various watercourses.

This mapping and the City’s bylaws guide where structures can be situated so that habitation can reasonably occur without the potential for being flooded.

City council has established a working committee consisting of elected officials Hillian, Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Starr Winchester, along with City staff, to liaise with Maple Pool owners Jin and Dali Lin and their lawyers on use of their lands.

The property owners will be required to come up with possible solutions and options to raise the land in order to conform with set flood levels and construction elevations. This research and related plans will require the work of a hydrologist and ultimately the approval of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Ministry of Environment.

Once such approvals and conditions are known, council has indicated it is willing to consider an application to rezone the properties to allow year-round residential use.

Hillian said council understands the impact the uncertainty around Maple Pool situation has had on its residents.

“We appreciate the concern this has created for those directly affected, as well as the broader community. Hopefully this is a positive step toward a solution.”

— City of Courtenay

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