Community Articles
Go to Site Index See "Community Articles" main page
General News · 31st December 2016
Mary & Vern Kemp, Brian Hayden
Open Letter to Noba, Cortes Island Regional Director, and the Special Committee convened on December 1st that was selected for the resolution of the Gorge Harbour industrial noise dilemma. 

The Director’s Report of Dec. 16th, 2016 states that the bylaws are enforceable

1. Please make the AQ2 bylaw more enforceable.
      The Regional District has been attempting to enforce the AQ2 bylaw in Gorge Harbour since 2001 through:
a) requesting that the industrial operation owner comply voluntarily to the AQ2 bylaw that prohibits machinery, and
b) by filing a lawsuit against the offending company, requesting that the machinery and power operated equipment cease operation and be removed.

2. Please incorporate the ‘Permitted Uses' (in Bylaw Section 102) in to the AQ2 zoning bylaw, so it reads;
   Permitted Principal Uses:
a) Passive aquaculture;    
 b) Public or private moorage, excluding facilities offered for commercial gain or those associated with the private yacht, boating or similar recreational clubs 
(c) machinery and power operated equipment prohibited

3. Please avoid wasting time on a noise/nuisance bylaw. The RD in 2005 thoroughly researched noise bylaws and found it to  be largely unenforceable. 

4. Please respect:
           a)  The Strathcona Regional District’s (OCP) which supports only small industrial activities which are compatible with the Island environment, and allows neighbours their enjoyment of their rural property.
           b) The Provincial Government’s Licence of Occupation that states that all licensees must “observe, abide by and comply with all applicable laws, bylaws…..“ (pg 4  Article 4 , 4.1  Covenants)
           c) The Provincial Memorandum of Understanding that promises the Klahoose Band a shellfish tenure. The Memorandum suggests that another tenure site, of the 6 suggested, be designated, if one (for example, Gorge Harbour) is not approved. Gorge Harbour zones prohibit machinery. Therefore, if those who operate the Klahoose tenure feel that they need to use machinery, another site should be approved. Squirrel Cove, West Redonda or Von Donop Inlet were all suggested alternatives.

5. Please provide the names of those on the special Gorge Harbour Committee. 
We note that you named those on the APC but neglected to advise the Islanders of who was chosen to decide on the future lifestyles of the Gorge Harbour residents and landowners.

Not a lot of decision making is necessary if the existing zoning bylaws are enforced. The wishes of the Gorge Residents/Landowners have not changed and it has been proven over the past 15 years that voluntary compliance with the regulations does not work. 
The industrial shellfish operation is still disrupting the lifestyles of the Gorge Harbour residents and landowners in contradiction of the Zoning bylaw, the OCP and the Cortes Island Coastal Plan for Shellfish Aquaculture.

Mary and Vern Kemp
Brian Hayden
Right to Farm: To Be or Not To Be?
Comment by Brian Hayden on 5th January 2017
Very nice assessment of the situation. To be clear, there HAVE been many complaints over the years about the shellfish industry in Gorge Harbour, all to NO effect, except for the actions of the previous Cortes Director who got the RD to initiate a lawsuit against the use of machinery in the Gorge (subsequently quashed under Noba's direction).
But I differ in the assessment of Right to Farm legislation. This would seem at odds with the Provincial Government’s Licence of Occupation that states that all licensees must “observe, abide by and comply with all applicable laws, bylaws…..“ (pg 4 Article 4 , 4.1 Covenants). Bylaws also must conform to the Cortes OCP according to the Province, and above all the OCP enshrines the rural quality of life, the environment, and the right to enjoy one's property. While the Province may have the ultimate ability to do what it wants, this is clearly discretionary and not undertaken lightly. When the RD turned down an application by First Nations for an aquaculture license on Quadra shores, the Province did not intervene and no jurisdictional authority was changed. Nor did the Province intervene during the RD's legal suit against ISF. Noba Anderson and others have repeatedly raised this boogey-man issue and used it as an excuse for not doing anything about the transgressions of shellfish operators. It seems clear that this is a smokescreen and cop-out. You can't know what the outcome will be until you try, and the time to stand up for enforcing aquaculture bylaws is long overdue.