Acting CAO Frank Raimondo told the Board of Directors yesterday afternoon that he had received the requested legal opinion that made it clear that they (Directors Giles, Walker, Chair Rob Hutchins and Frank Raimondo) were 100 percent wrong.
That was quite a mouthful after Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles and Cowichan Bay’s representative Lori Iannidinardo banged heads at the last Electoral Area Services over the matter of issuing a-Temporary Use Permit- (TUP)
They had argued that Oliver and Shelley Balme should have been allowed further process to examine a Temporary use Permit-TUP that could have ended up allowing gravel processing on the Balmes farm in Cobble Hill, bordering Cowichan Bay.
Note that this meeting was not available through CVRD streaming or in video archives. They consistently and deliberately pick and choose which meetings are to be made available for the public.
Directors Giles, Walker, Chair Rob Hutchins and Frank Raimondo had favoured the Balme’s efforts to process gravel through a Temporary Use Permit-TUP.
The zoning authority in Electoral areas is the elected CVRD Directors who conduct land use matters through the Electoral Service Committee.
The committee had voted 6-2 against allowing processing on the Balmes farmland.
The next night, June 11th, as Chair Lori Iannidinardo was preparing to read the resolution for final Board approval Board Chair Rob Hutchins announced that he pulled it over staff concerns regarding the proper handling and process.
Staff’s concern and interpretation turned out to be Acting CAO Frank Raimondo.
Director Giles moved and Director Walker seconded a motion to send the matter off for a legal opinion.
They were mostly supported by the surprised and somewhat confused Directors who went along with it because of concerns expressed over lack of process.
Giles had argued that the process was flawed and that the applicants Oliver & Shelley Balme were denied a fair process in their bid to conduct full scale gravel processing. She added that this was against the laws of Natural Justice.
The Agricultural Land Commission-ALC- has approved extraction but local government are the deciders on further land use matters.
Ironically the South Cowichan Official Community Plan is specific in its clear direction banning such an undertaking on ALR farmland. This is deja vu all over again, they misread the Shawnigan OCP and Bylaws when they insisted that a garbage and recycling depot (Eco Depot) could be built on A-1 zoned farmland.
That cost us big time and they didn’t stop until the court ruled against their actions. At least this time we did not have to take them to court!
And, I almost forgot the contaminated soil cock-up with South Island Aggregates. They refused to use or beef up their bylaws, that one has been before the BC Environmental Appeal Board where it continues in July.
For Gerry Giles to chide anyone about flawed process is really a stretch.
That is three strikes! Too damn bad this isn’t a baseball game!
Cowichan Bay Director and Chair of the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) maintained that there had been a fair process, later supported by the CVRD’s legal opinion, and that the committee rejected the application so there were no grounds to continue further.
She came under fire for her stance and handling of the matter during the EASC when she dared to stand up to Director Giles in some tense debate.
Frankly it was one of the few times that this crop of Directors argued or debated about anything much.
The fact that Iannidinardo had the temerity to challenge the old order was both encouraging and refreshing.
Raimondo and Gerry had to eat crow publicly but still Raimondo continued trying to blame Lori Iannidinardo’s rude handling as the cause of the confusion. Frank you are an idiot!
He later admitted that two other TUP’s in North Oyster will have to be rescinded as they had not followed the proper process. They can’t blame Lori Iannidinardo for that one.
I recently watched both the EASC and General Meeting. Yes, they got a little testy on both sides, but that was nothing compared to a great many of the meetings (1993-2002) that we both sat through and participated in and Frank, you bloody well know that!
Raimondo was supposed to restructure and put the CVRD back into a more workable organization. It seems like he opted to being Gerry’s agent instead. It really has been blatant and still they lost another one!
The residents in attendance at the CVRD meeting were elated and peppered CVRD officials with questions after the announcement. Their main point was why didn’t you listen to us! Everybody it seems was familiar with the bylaws except Raimondo, Giles, Walker and Hutchins.
Mark this one up for the good guys!
So, the threat of a gravel processing operation is pretty much over. The only way forward now would be for the Balmes to apply to rezone the property to Industrial. That would be strongly opposed by the affected farms and residents and is an unlikely option.
It will be interesting to read the Cowichan News Leader and Cowichan Citizen’s take on this. Both papers editorials wrongly decried the lack of fair process as spun by Gerry Giles, although neither endorsed gravel processing.
BTW I received an audio version of the meeting and listening to it I can see why they did not run their video streaming or listen to the commentary. I will see if I can put it up on the blog later.
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