Over the last couple of weeks I have read with interest the editorials and letters that have related to the Lamberts' challenge to the bylaws that the community and municipal council approved last October. Bylaws that were to set in motion the creation of a train station, lodge and single family lots, while protecting wetlands and building needed employee housing.
I would like to take this opportunity to correct a few factual errors that have crept into writings on the issue of our project and the court's decision:
The decision of the B.C. Supreme Court was not about the size or height or scale of our project, nor of the hotel building we propose to build. Nor was it about the wisdom or propriety of council's decision to support the creation of a hotel, a train station, employee housing and the protection of vital wetlands. Such decisions are wholly a matter for council, as the duly elected representative of the municipality's citizens, and the court did not suggest otherwise.
What the court's decision was about was a technical matter of bylaw drafting. The bylaw established a number of scenarios, one of which was a "base density" scenario. The court held that the provisions for this scenario were in effect inconsistent. The court then held that the effect of its "base density" scenario finding was that the whole bylaw should be set aside. The court added that it was wholly open to council to enact a new bylaw if it wished.
A number of interpretations were available other than the one the court arrived at. As an example, the base density scenario was not the one we were building under. Hence, one option open to us is an appeal. At the same time, there are other ways of dealing with the technical defect that the court concluded existed.
Having spoken to Mr. Lambert and having heard him on several occasions, I am well aware of his desires respecting this project. While Mr. Lambert is certainly entitled to his opinion, and has expressed it at various public hearings, council's conclusion as to what is best for the municipality was different. Mr. Lambert appears to be attempting to use the court's ruling regarding a technical issue to suggest that is it not up to council to decide whether our project is good for the municipality's citizens, and that there should instead be a three way negotiation with him as a party. The court did not say any such thing.
It is also important to note that the solutions Mr. Lambert has proposed in the past would make our project unviable with or without community amenities.