Cable Bay Development Controversy: The plot thickens

This is a topic that I’ve been seeing popping up in the local papers ffrom time to time in the past few months. Plans to build a large development and golf resort in Cable Bay (next to a rather nice nature trail by the same name south of town in Cedar) have been controversial from the start. But according to the article below, which I found in the Nanaimo Daily News, the movement is gaining steam. They have until August 5th to collect enough signatures to make the city of Nanaimo stop it from going through.

Looks like they’re likely to pull it off from what it says below.

Ryan Coffey

Petitioners aim to stop development

Protesters want vote on Cable Bay

Darrell Bellaart
Daily News

Four thousand people have already signed on the first day of a campaign to prevent Nanaimo from annexing 90 acres of rural land for an 1,800-unit subdivision and destination golf course at Cable Bay.

Beverly Eert is leading a group of volunteers in a drive to get signatures from 5,815 Nanaimo residents and prevent the city from annexing 1260 Phoenix Way, an uninhabited property for the development.

They have until Aug. 5 to get those signatures. The city applied to the province in February to extend the city limits south to accommodate the development. Under provincial rules, a land annexation is considered to have local support unless at least 10% of voters sign letters saying otherwise. Nanaimo has 58,155 voters.

When the city set the Aug. 5 deadline, members of Save our Strategy, a grass-roots organization that opposes the development, originally said it would be too difficult to collect the signatures needed. But Eert is convinced it’s doable.

She and several volunteers set up a booth, with a handmade architectural model of the development during Canada Day festivities at Maffeo-Sutton Park on Tuesday, where she said she people were eager to sign.

"We got 405 signatures," Eert said. "If we had another half-dozen volunteers, we would have got double that. There was tremendous opposition, mostly to the process."

So far, Cedar residents have been the most vocal opponents to the development, which would be right in their backyard. Eert, who lives in Cedar, said this proves city residents also oppose the annexation.

"Most of the people didn’t know much about the project. I would say it was ignorance. Once they looked at the model and listened to what we were saying about the process, people said it wasn’t democratic.

"Remember a few years ago, when Shaw (Cable) said they were going to add a few channels and bill us for it, unless we said not to? A lot of people said it was like that."

She said the city should hold a referendum. "If we get 6,000 signatures, we’ll have to go to referendum anyway. We will force them to do the right thing, however expensive it may be."

Only signatures of qualified Nanaimo voters can be counted under the so-called alternative approval process. Qualified voters must either live in or own land inside the city.

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