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'High-handed, legalistic approach to governance' in Courtenay not appreciated
On Feb. 17 Courtenay Council sat in open session a second time to debate and vote on Coun. Hillian's resolution regarding Maple Pool.
In the end, Coun. Hillian and Coun. Leonard joined the others and voted against the intent of their own resolution, as it was first presented. (Only Manno Theos opposed the amended motion.)
The relevant wording was, "However the court action ... Is settled, there will be no forced evictions from the Maple Pool Campsite initiated by the City of Courtenay..."
This became "... the City will seek a court order that provides a reasonable amount of time for the property owner to address non-compliance issues and for any residents who may be impacted, to find alternative housing."
Two very different proposals.
The council knows there is no alternative housing for the residents of Maple Pool. Coun. Hillian's attempt to blame Jin and Dali Lin for the impasse is wrong.
The City chose to use non-compliance zoning to take the Lins to court. The City must now offer an alternative and tell the Lins what is required to resolve this impasse.
The Lins will then respond and those competent professionals, experienced contractors, business and volunteers who are waiting will step in and go to work to comply with new zoning for Maple Pool.
Courtenay council knows this — the Lins will not agree to shut down between October and April and put the residents on the street for the winter. This was one of the City's demands in the past.
As for Coun. Ambler's anxiety over his sworn duty to uphold the law, he forgets that his new job here on council is not enforcement but is lawmaking — bylaws, zoning changes and working out variances when necessary.
If the current zoning does not work for Maple Pool, rewrite the zoning!
Examples from the past of zoning changes: Walmart, Crown Isle, Costco and sign size for Target. Zoning requests denied: sign size for Canadian Tire; small-unit, low-rent apartments on Cumberland Road; the Foursquare Church offer to build social housing on their own property; and, of course, Maple Pool.
How did each councillor vote on each of the above?
An eviction must conform to the B.C. Landlord Tenant Act. it is not the prerogative of Coun. Hillian and the council to give residents of Maple Pool "reasonable time to find other accommodation."
The rules for eviction are spelled out in the Act. That is the law.
Easy to see why council likes in-camera meetings where their confusion and lack of focus is hidden.
Maple Pool is here to stay. The Lins are completely focused and determined to maintain this refuge for people with no other place to go.
The weight of sympathy among so many people in Courtenay will, in the end, settle this high-handed, legalistic approach to governance.