A group of citizens has stepped up in an effort to resolve the issue at the heart of a legal battle between the City of Courtenay and the owners of Maple Pool Campsite.
The group — consisting of engineers, lawyers, contractors and other business people — has spoken with the City about options for adding fill and/or raising the site to a reasonable flood level.
“But if they’re talking a 500-year flood level, you’d have to raise the entire Comox Valley,” said group member Mike Hamilton, who owns a logging company. “We’re going to put something on paper and send it to the City, that way it will be entered into the court records.”
Maple Pool flooded in 2009 and 2010. The following year, the City initiated legal action against campground owners Dali and Jin Lin.
Former City CAO Sandy Gray has said the issue is zoning, which prohibits the Lins from housing people on the property, which sits in a floodplain. Advocates fear that most of the campground’s 56 tenants would become homeless if evicted.
Last fall, Courtenay Council established a committee to liaise with the Lins and their lawyers on use of the land. The idea was to come up with solutions and options to raise the land to conform with flood levels and construction elevations.
Hamilton has met with Gray’s replacement, David Allen, whose “door has been open” but who can’t elaborate because the case is before the courts.
Mayor Larry Jangula has expressed his opposition to the adjourned court case. By so doing, he was criticized by fellow council members who said Jangula breached an in-camera discussion.
“It’s kind of a Catch-22. I can see why the City has taken that position, but it’s certainly frustrating,” said Hamilton, noting some of the City’s concerns need to be addressed. “At this point we don’t know what they want. We’ll make a proposal to them and they can tell us yes or no.
“It’s just not acceptable to throw those people out of there,” Hamilton added. “If it’s a reasonable proposal, hopefully they accept it.”
In a letter to the editor, Allen states: “It is the responsibility of Maple Pool representatives to determine what effect their own proposed work will have on the Tsolum River system, both on their property and on the adjacent properties, before any application for rezoning or an Official Community Plan amendment could be considered.”