Representatives from both sides of the legal battle between the City of Courtenay and Maple Pool Campground owners Dali and Jin Lin met Friday on a “without prejudice basis” in an effort to resolve the City’s claim and the couple’s counterclaim regarding the campground at Headquarters Road adjacent to the Tsolum River.
“The meeting was productive and the parties continue to work hard toward a resolution that will see an end to the legal proceedings on both sides on a mutually agreeable basis,” says a joint statement from the City and the legal office of Ansley & Company.
Courtenay council met in camera during its Monday meeting before releasing the statement.
“We can’t say anything more at this time,” Mayor Larry Jangula said. “But myself and council and staff feel very positive about this, and that this is progress.”
Maple Pool — which provides low-rent housing for approximately 50 at-risk individuals — flooded in 2009 and 2010. The following year, the City initiated legal action against the Lins.
The City says zoning prohibits the couple from housing people on the property. However, a citizens’ group called The Friends of Maple Pool says zoning is irrelevant because the campsite’s legally non-conforming status means a zoning bylaw cannot be applied retroactively.
Advocates fear that most of the tenants would become homeless if evicted.
Clive Ansley continues as general legal counsel for the Lins, but he has handed over the litigation to Vancouver-based lawyer Cameron Ward.
“I’m cautiously optimistic the thing will come to an end soon,” Ansley said. “We’ve had meetings. They’ve been friendly and positive.”