Letters to the Editor

Strathcona Regional District director responds to critic

I would like to comment on the letter to the editor that appeared from Mark Treacy in your Friday, Jan 11, edition.

Treacy says he is a “resident,” but not in the local phone book. Online sources say he lives in Arizona. His lot at 146 Crawford Road is empty with no house on it. A development permit application appeared at the Regional District in 2010 with Mr. Treacy’s name on it but he was not present when the permit was considered.

I distinctly recall asking where the applicant was and was told by our planning staff that he lived in the United States. Mr. Treacy got his development permit. The report from staff clearly stated that Mr. Treacy would have the option of building on the lot at 146 Crawford Road and putting in a “package” system on the high point of this land, should the sewer project not be delivered. To date, there is no house on this lot and no one resides on it.

When Mr. Treacy states that Brenda Leigh doesn’t care about the environment because he doesn’t have a sewer pipe, I would say to him that nothing could be further from the truth. I have worked tirelessly to get the sewers.

The City of Campbell River cancelled the project without discussion. That being said, they wanted more than twice what Area D taxpayers voted for and if a package system costs less than the “big pipe,” there is no logic to justify the Campbell River option.

Also, when Mr. Treacy says Brenda Leigh doesn’t care about the environment, he is dead wrong.

I, along with many, many residents of Area D, have installed new treatment systems on our properties to protect the environment.

Area D has has opened several nature parks in our area, supported nine fish enhancement projects, overseen countless environmental hearings, studied mining plans.

I have personally put in hundreds of volunteer hours on the recently-approved Water Use Plan and have contributed all kinds of other environmentally-beneficial initiatives and yes, I have been part of the Liquid Waste Management function with the former Comox-Strathcona Board and with Strathcona, too.

I have worked hard hard to try to get northern Area D sewers, against huge odds.

The problem is that I am not authorized to spend more than the people voted for on sewers. The buck stops at $9,350 per household and I seriously doubt that most people in northern Area D would be willing to even to commit to that much right now.

When Campbell River offered a sewer connection at more than double this cost, that is not what the people of northern Area D voted for. No one has any right to force residents to pay more than is authorized at referendum on such an expensive project – not even Campbell River.

That’s the law in BC for any project that exceeds a  threshold of $50,000 and has the potential to dramatically increase everyone’s property taxes.

I have been re-elected seven times and I am now in my 20th year as director of Area D, and I can count on my left hand the number of people who have actually ever complained to me about anything.

The vast majority of people in Area D are, very kind and co-operative and they know that I am doing my very best for them at all times.

I cannot spend $34 million if I only have one-tenth of that amount of money allocated from the federal and provincial governments.

I cannot charge Area D residents for more than they have explicitly stated they were willing to spend.

I hope that this will now put to rest any further nonsense from your newspaper about me, my reputation, my work and that my next note won’t have to be to my lawyer and the BC Press Council about your newspaper’s lack of judgement in its numerous attempts to defame.

Brenda Leigh

Area D

 

Editor’s note: Mark Treacy is indeed a winter resident of Arizona who also owns property on Crawford Road on which he has told the Mirror he wants to build a home, pending resolution of the sewage treatment issue in Area D. His part-time residency and nationality do not preclude him from the right to comment on issues.

Meanwhile, the Mirror stands by its role of providing a forum for the expression of opposition to the actions of elected and non-elected officials in local, provincial and federal levels of government.

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