- Our Town
Blind Bay Resort application returns
After being turned down in a controversial tie vote by Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors in January, Blind Bay Resort owner Dan Baskill’s application to develop his property was quietly given approval for first reading at the board’s May 15 meeting.
This was just four months after his proposal was denied instead of the six-month timeline set out in the Municipal Act, as is the directors’ right.
Unlike the sometimes contentious chat that took place during the Jan.16 board meeting attended by some 40 outraged Baskill supporters, directors consented to revisiting the proposal without comment.
CSRD senior planner Dan Passmore then noted that Baskill’s proposal for 19 modular buildings in an area of single-family homes is incompatible with the area’s newly-minted official community plan.
“There is incompatibility with neighbourhood uses, particularly on the foreshore, which is a keystone in the OCP bylaw 725 (new bylaw), which was eight years in construction,” he said.
But once again offering his ardent support for the application, South Shuswap director Paul Demenok pointed out the area has always been a resort and there are not many campsites left in the area.
“The other thing to consider is look at the last public hearing, where, based on my assessment of the scenario, a minimum of 80 per cent of the people support this,” he said. “I am asking for your support to see this go through and, as this is a fairly complex development, I would like for staff to arrange a site visit so directors could see how important it is.”
This could go far to address angry protests that followed the January decision that directors living far from a development and without full knowledge of it have the power to determine the outcome, particularly when there is seemingly strong local public support.
Baskill, meanwhile, believes his latest plan was sufficiently changed to waive the six-month waiting period for re-application.
“I reduced the moorage from 70 slips to 55… Instead of five per cent (of the project’s value) in land along the western portion of the property, I’ve chosen five per cent in cash that will go into the park’s fund, which was accepted by Director Demenok,” said Baskill.
As well as offering five per cent in cash, Baskill says the land he had originally offered will be provided as an easement in order to allow public access.
“They’re getting both – a public park area and cash,” he says. “CSRD planning staff seem very willing to walk this through one more time. We’re gonna work with bylaw 725.”
Like Demenok, Baskill argues his property was a campground long before it became a resort in 1972.
He says rather than the unregulated property that was often the site of boisterous parties, his development attracts families to a safe, secured resort.
Baskill is optimistic that because the stakeholders who will review his application have already seen the proposal, it will soon be back to the regional district board for second reading.
Because the proposal has already been through a complex process, staff have recommended a simple consultation process.
CSRD Development Services manager Gerald Christie says timelines are “still in a bit of flux,” because the proposal has been referred to several agencies.
“But, I don’t believe there were major issues,” he said.
When all the agencies have responded, the proposal will go back to the board for second reading. Following that, the public will be given an opportunity to have their say at a public hearing, one that Baskill hopes to be able to host in July.