Mike Hicks backpedals on new deal to develop parkland
November 9, 2011
As of last week, Capital Regional District director Mike Hicks was still working behind closed doors to support a vacation-home complex on proposed parklands on the Juan de Fuca coast.
On Tuesday, however, Hicks backed away from attempts to start a discussion on developing CRD-owned land on Sandcut Beach near Jordan River, in exchange for properties bordering the Juan de Fuca Trail.
In 2009, the CRD and TLC agreed to purchase the waterfront properties at Sandcut Beach from Western Forest Products with the intention of creating a park.
West Vancouver developer Ender Ilkay's recent proposal to develop the Juan de Fuca Trail properties launched an unprecedented flood of opposition from people all across the Capital Regional District. In September, a record-setting three-day public hearing heard from 400 people, all but four of them opposed to the plan.
Undeterred, Hicks told an all-candidates' meeting November 2 that he intended to "finish negotiations with Ender Ilkay."
The same week, he approached a local environmentalist about a potential deal to swap the Juan de Fuca Trail lands for the waterfront at Sandcut Beach.
Hicks said he had already met with Ilkay and Oak Bay mayor Chris Causton about proposing a land swap.
Local residents are surprised that the director is continuing private negotiations after the year-long fight that ended with the unanimous defeat of the Juan de Fuca proposal in September. Many felt the process was marred by a lack of public consultation.
The unsuccessful rezoning application – which Hicks supported until the final vote – cost taxpayers at least $50,000.
On November 4, 2011, Forest Action Network filed a Freedom of Information request for all of Hicks' meetings about Juan de Fuca development. The request is pending.