BC Ferries asks for SRD’s reconsideration of public hearing deferral

SRD has deferred public hearings until Sept. though a ministerial order has said they do not have to

BC Ferries’ proposed new berth on Quadra Island has been delayed due to the Strathcona Regional District’s requirement for the project to have a public hearing, which have been postponed by the regional district because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is to build a new berth on island side of the route as a place to park the new hybrid ferries that are being built for the Campbell River-Quadra Island route. Part of the project includes an OCMP amendment and rezoning, which requires a public hearing before moving forward.

BC Ferries wrote to ask the regional district board to reconsider, and that the board hold a public hearing in a safe alternative format as allowed by the provincial government. The regional district had made the decision to postpone all public hearings until after Sept. 7, 2020, and according to the regional district’s website: “applications waiting for a public hearing will be prepared to enable timely consideration following SRD Board authorization for the conducting of public hearings.”

RELATED: Public hearing for Quadra Island ferry berth not possible under COVID-19

“The overall project is complex, much work must be completed, and the schedule is relatively tight. As such, we were somewhat disappointed to learn of the further deferral to the public hearing process as the province starts to reopen. As you would expect, our preference is to hold the public hearing as soon as possible so we can maintain our schedule to have the infrastructure completed by the time the new vessels are delivered,” the letter from BC Ferries read.

On May 1, the province enacted a ministerial order to allow public hearings to occur electronically, and that it was up to the local governments to detemine how that would happen. The SRD has not made any changes to their Sept. 7 deferral date.

“We look forward to the public hearing when the time is right,” added BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. “In the meantime, we continue site investigation at the proposed site.”

That site investigation will be taking place on July 8 and 9. Crews will be on site near 733 Pidcock Road using a marine rig and drilling equipment. Residents may hear construction noise, but all works are scheduled for the daytime, and efforts will be made to reduce the noise.

The letter was included on the SRD Board’s June 24 agenda. The meeting was held with no provisions for public attendance, as have meetings since the beginning of the pandemic. Meeting recordings are made available to the public after the fact.

RELATED: Still no public option for Strathcona Regional District meetings


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