General News · 19th June 2013
As a frequent user of Squirrel Cove as a preferred anchorage on my annual visits to Desolation Sound area, I oppose the proposed development plan for the cove for a number of reasons.
- The proponent has made several misleading statements in an attempt to justify the development.
- There have never been nor will be 200 - 300 boats anchored per night during the summer months. It could not handle that number of boats unless it was a result of extreme weather conditions where boaters would tend to "raft" to one another to make more space and to be more secure. At that , the cove would only have room for about 150 boats.
- Boaters do not empty their holding tanks while anchored in the cove! That act is contrary to the Sewage Regulations in the Canada Shipping Act and would be subject to heavy fines not to mention the reaction from other very angry boaters.
- The business case for the development, if presented to conventional venture capital markets and lenders, would be rejected as it would not be economically viable. A development of this scale would be more suited to a larger community such as Campbell River or Powell River where existing commercial marinas are struggling to survive.
- There are two currently operating, taxpaying, businesses in the immediate area that would be financially devastated if this proposal proceeds. They have served the Cortes and West Redonda Island communities for decades, supplying goods and services to residents and tourists, including visiting boaters from the USA. All without complaint from those served about lack of services or supplies. In fact, both businesses are a "must stop" for boaters plying the waters of Desolation Sound and area. They have to comply with all SRD and Provincial regulations to operate and pay any and all taxes and fees levied.
The decision on the Zoning Amendment By-Law to allow the project to proceed rests in the hands of four Strathcona Regional District directors from Electoral Areas A,B,C & D.
I question why Director Noba Anderson of Area "B" is championing this development through the process because if it succeeds, it will be at the expense of a current taxpaying business less than 1 kilometer from the proposed site and another 5 kilometers across the channel. One of which is a constituent of hers, the other of Director Jim Abram of Area "C".
The proposed development would not generate any income for the taxpayers of the Regional District as the water lease, if granted, would go to the province, and any business on the reserve would not be subject to any development fees or business and property taxes, an unfair advantage over the two existing establishments.
So why the push to get the zoning amendment through?
I wonder if Ms. Anderson and Mr. Abram have logical answers.
Directors have a broad, moral and fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of the District and as such it should not be at the expense of existing businesses or the electors.
George Creek, Cedar by the Sea, Vancouver Island