Landowner runs into roadblock in effort to have Strathcona Regional District take over private road

Board passes a recommendation from regional district staff which was to take no further action

A road posing a liability issue for a Cortes Island man will stay that way after the Strathcona Regional District chose last week not to take over the road.

The road, known as Jimmy Smith Way, runs from Whaletown Road to the north of the island and crosses through private property. Director Noba Anderson said because of liability issues, the owner has tried to subdivide or rezone the property to make the road public but he has been turned down because of covenants registered on the land.

Anderson urged her fellow regional district directors at last week’s Thursday board meeting to enter into a road use agreement with the property owner to try and rectify the problem.

“I would greatly appreciate if this matter could be resolved in a timely manner and hopefully before another summer season,” Anderson said. “He has expressed a willingness to enter into a few year road use agreement with the Strathcona Regional District for the benefit of the public. The advantage to him is that we would assume the interim liability of access and the advantage to the public is obviously access.”

But the board instead passed a recommendation from regional district staff which was to take no further action.

Russ Hotsenpiller, chief administrative officer of the regional district, said there are other, simpler methods that could be employed.

“There are applications processes currently available at the landowner’s discretion, such as rezoning or plan amendment that could be used to satisfy this issue,” Hotsenpiller said. “If these efforts are unsuccessful, in the future the board could revisit the development of a road use agreement or some other means of advancing this matter.”

In the meantime, the property owner has been accommodating a gravel pit lessee and two private landowners to the east that use the road to access their properties.

But Anderson said her hope was to bring the road under the Strathcona Regional District’s jurisdiction to give the public access to the road as well.

“This is the first leg of what I hope will be future legal land access to the SRD’s Carrington Park – informal yet historical access to which has also been cut off,” Anderson said.

There is another way to get to the park. A longer road north of Whaletown winds through Island Timberlands property.