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Stoney Hill Road AAP count falls far short, fails to block road project

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A proposed Stoney Hill Road through the municipal forest got a bright-green light Friday as an official form count to curb the project fell short of the required 2,150, municipal clerk Mark Ruttan said.

The exact number of electoral response forms — to stop council's withdrawal of forest land for the road — was unknown as Ruttan checked to ensure submitted addresses fell inside North Cowichan.

However, he said about 675 alternative approval process electoral forms had arrived at the hall by around noon.

Had voters gained the 2,150 forms, representing 10% of the municipality's population, council would have either scrapped the planned $2.5-million road, or voted to go to a referendum concerning a bylaw to pull the forestland for a gravel road between Genoa Bay Road and the Fairweather area, near Octopus Point.

Council's next steps mean adopting the AAP results, then starting design and bid work for the main eight-kilometre road, plus two five-km side roads, accessing 73 properties on forested Maple Bay Peninsula.

The controversial road, across part of Bird's Eye Cove Farm, will see taxpayers foot $500,000 of the tab, while peninsula property owners retire a $2-million Municipal Finance Authority loan.

That loan involves landowners paying about $1,700 annually for 25 years, or one $27,400 lump sum, if they wish.

Some peninsula residents claim a road to their area was promised by North Cowichan decades ago.

Opponents fear the new road will spell rural sprawl, traffic, noise, vandalism, fires, trash dumping, tree loss, and more land subdivision in the forested community near Sansum Point Point.

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