Jeri and John Wyatt, with an aerial photograph of the Chemainus River Campground site, are going to be waiting with bated breath for the outcome from the ALC for ALR exclusion. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Jeri and John Wyatt, with an aerial photograph of the Chemainus River Campground site, are going to be waiting with bated breath for the outcome from the ALC for ALR exclusion. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Municipality moves campground’s ALR exclusion application forward

Wyatts now await a decision after public hearing draws no opposition

It’s a waiting game now for John and Jeri Wyatt.

The owners of the Chemainus River Campground are grateful to the Municipality of North Cowichan for its handling of their situation. Their application for the property being excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve went to public hearing last week.

There was no opposition during the public hearing and council heard further from proponents before voting in favour of forwarding the application to the Agricultural Land Commission, recommending that it be approved.

“North Cowichan has been on our side since the previous meeting before COVID,” said John Wyatt.

“We’re happy the community is totally behind us,” he added.

The Wyatts were especially pleased with the presentation made during the hearing by North Cowichan community planner Mairi Campeau.

“The report they did was good,” said Jeri. “The gal who did all the speaking was very precise, very clear.”

Related story: Opportunity for input on campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

The campground site has never been used for agricultural purposes and contains very poor quality soil for such purposes. The Wyatts had previously done their homework with a thorough report completed by Madrone Environmental Services Ltd. that supported their claims.

Despite that, the Wyatts were almost shut down before being given a last-minute reprieve when they applied to expand the campground and the ALC decided the site had to live up to its ALR designation.

The Wyatts remain leery, but hopeful that the same people who made the decision last time in 2019 will take everything into account and realize the land is not up to ALR standards.

“As far as I’m concerned I probably know more about the agrology of the land than they do,” John said of the prior ALC Island board assessment.

The balancing act between the previous NDP and Green Party coalition government has also proved contentious.

“The one thing I think is in our favour that the Green Party’s out of there, the NDP has got the whole ball of wax,” noted Jeri.

The Municipality is the applicant, something it decided to move forward last year on behalf of the Wyatts.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring noted he spent time Monday trying to get Agricultural Minister Lana Popham to tour the site and he was “hopeful for a good outcome from that request.”

It’s not known how long it will take for a decision on the application.

“It sure would be nice to get that monkey off our back,” summed up John.

Agricultural Land ReserveCampingMunicipal Government

 

Application has been made by North Cowichan following a public hearing last week. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Application has been made by North Cowichan following a public hearing last week. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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