Council updated on controversial Nanaimo development
Efforts to save a western portion of Nanaimo's Linley Valley continue, although city council is not sure what role it can play.
Council asked property owners to provide an update on the development of 24 hectares at 5300 Rutherford Rd. Monday, and members of Team Save Linley Valley West took advantage of the meeting to make a counterpoint.
Environmental consultant Cedric Robert, owner of Courtenay-based ECODynamic Solutions, which is under contract with Lamont Land, the property owners, told council the permit process began last spring.
“As part of the process, we were responsible for securing permits with the Ministry of Environment and developing environmental mitigation plans,” he said. “All our work was submitted to the satisfaction of the province.”
ECODynamic Solutions is also responsible for long-term environmental monitoring of the property for the province and the owner.
“That is part of the water licensing process,” said Robert.
Jennifer O’Rourke, of Team Save Linley Valley West, provided council with photographs of the area before and after development began.
“We just wanted to alert council of what has taken place in this sensitive area,” she said. “Even with environmental monitoring in place, there is still a significant amount of impact.”
Mayor John Ruttan said council asked for the update even though the laws on wildlife and its surrounding is the mandate of the provincial government.
“It’s a bit of a grey zone, but we are interested, as a community, that we provide the flora and fauna with as much protection as we can,” he said.
Team Save Linley Valley West wants 80 hectares of privately owned wetland, woodland and trails adjacent to the development saved, but Ruttan said the city doesn’t have the resources to purchase it.
“There’s no dispute it’s a beautiful piece of land, but I asked the developer what he thought the land was worth and his response was about 15 million dollars,” he said. “We just don’t have the resources, even if we had the will, to commit to that.”
Coun. Jim Kipp understands what the group is trying to do, but said council’s hands might be tied.
“What we’re fighting for is this last little area of green space,” he said. “But that land is zoned for urban development.”
Team Save Linley Valley West plans to present council with options on saving the remaining undeveloped property at Monday’s (Feb. 13) council meeting at the Shaw Auditorium.
“We have been working with the environmental law clinic at the University of Victoria,” said O’Rourke. “Yes the property is in private hands, but there are options that don’t involve purchases.”