Zuks treated unfairly by the Comox Valley Regional District
Regarding RD Steps In On Staircase (Comox Valley Record, May 26), it sounds as if the Zuks pulled a fast one on the CVRD by not applying for permits on the rip-rap and their stairs. This is most certainly not the case. However, is this yet another example of flawed process by the CVRD?
Many years ago they and their neighbours lost approx. three metres of their waterfront bank due to a winter storm. After checking with the Department of Fisheries regarding timing, they applied to the CVRD to install some foreshore protection, but after much delay by the CVRD, they were told it wasn’t needed. Fearing for their property and not wanting to miss the DOF time slot, they installed it anyway as a neighbour who worked for the CVRD was able to obtain permits. They followed his example and at exactly the same time.
Regarding the stairs, neighbours and others also used them from time to time, including the fire department to put out illegal beach fires. After numerous repairs to their old stairs (built pre-1973), they had them completely and professionally rebuilt. However, they did not know they required permits for the replacement of the existing stairs. The RD threatened to file an injunction on the Zuk’s property if they did not get the required permits and comply. Unfortunately, they have spent three years and $75,000 trying to comply up to this point, but the goal posts keep changing. They have had specialists prepare numerous reports (surveys, geotechnical, environmental) in support of the structures and finally reached an agreement with the CVRD last November.
They have fulfilled all the obligations and removed the staircase, supplied yet more professional reports but now the CVRD is reneging on the agreement by holding back an amount of their security deposit and demanding that Lisa and John now pay the substantial CVRD legal costs of their Victoria lawyer. Again, this is after they reached an agreement and fulfilled all of their obligations. These are good, hardworking folks who are at the end of their rope. They have done everything in their power not to make this litigious and to make this right.
Lisa and John also want and deserve fair and open access to their elected officials, without the bullying and censorship by the staff at the CVRD office hiding behind in-camera meetings. Lastly, a website has been launched to allow the Zuks to tell more of their story in their own words at whathappenedtoourstairs.com.