Corporate democracy in action?

At what point is a community business friendly and resident unfriendly?

I read with interest your article on the pole stripping development recently started on Duncan Bay Road.

There may have been a misprint as to the zoning changes.  I believe the original zoning was agricultural light industrial and then changed by the city to heavy industrial agricultural during their rewriting of the by laws some years ago.  Your article says it was heavy industrial zoning from the get go. Perhaps this could be cleared up?

In the general run of your article however, it appears the assumption by the city’s land use manager (that there were public consultations and advertisements), remains only an assumption: This should be researched. Even if there were advertisements and consultations with user groups at the time of the heavy industrial re-designation, such adds and consultations may well be found insufficient in any judicial review of the project. Decades old notices and  offerings of consultation are not enough to go ahead with a project that promises such massive negative environmental, health, and quality of life impacts – not to mention the distress and danger to the residents of the area.  Clearly such a sizable project would warrant to any reasonable person a need for further consultation and input from environmental, political, and legal authorities, as well as all those taken for granted tax paying citizens who live along Duncan Bay Road.

Further, the statement that the project has only a one thousand square foot building, and thus escapes prudent review by the permit granting authority, is ludicrous and smacks of incompetence, political interference, or corruption.   If a building is small, yet the project is massive, covering several acres, requiring huge excavations, berms, sorting areas, heavy trucking, and perhaps toxic treatment facilities located all around the building, a reasonable person would not grant the permit on the grounds of the building size alone. Moreover, an additional or other building could always be added afterwards.

Berms indicate a serious and recognized deleterious effect of the development.  Only a complete idiot or someone gaining a benefit would approve such a project without a wink and a nudge or guidance from their political superiors at city hall. Obviously, the powers that be felt public outcry if there was any, could be ignored: Corporate democracy in action?

The small square footage of the building could quite obviously be designed to circumvent review. However auxiliary buildings and pits, berms, or treatment areas would have to be considered to do any justice to the residents, other users, or even the credibility of the land management process at all.

Without doubt, there is room here for an application to the courts for an injunction asking for a stop the massive project, until the process of consultation, environmental review and civic approval has been thoroughly re-examined by an unbiased body.

Finally, the business friendly argument sounds quite hollow.  At what point is a community  business friendly and resident unfriendly?  And without residents, what is the point of a community?  Residents are the community, and many also own businesses.  They spend money in the shops, pay taxes, vote, and participate in elections.

Residents again, are the foundation of the community. Business in this case, only wants to use the communities land base to make money.

The costs of polluted ground, air, and the inherent danger to residents are freebees if such businesses can get away with it.

Naturally, a few locals benefit by digging the place up and building the allegedly small structure, and they and their families will be in favour of the project.

Without doubt the council person making this rather odd and odious business friendly statement/veiled threat to the economy, ought to rethink their words. Additionally one would suspect such statements to be made by one who has some benefit to reap from their utterance.

The whole thing smacks of corruption and the so-called corporate democracy that the young and old citizens of this world are now quite sick of.

Michael H. Wright

Campbell River

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