Letters to the Editor

New citizens’ group formed in Metchosin

Shirley Wilde lawsuit

driving agenda

A citizens’ group in Metchosin is watching closely the outcome of whether taxpayers will be on the hook for legal costs arising from Shirley Wilde’s lawsuits against the municipality.

Wilde sued Metchosin unsuccessfully in 2004 over whether the public had access to all of the information on the controversial bylaws for the Centre Mountain golf course development, and also lost a subsequent appeal in 2005.

“Our concern is not with Shirley Wilde,” said Larry Tremblay, president of the newly formed Metchosin Residents Association. “Our concern is with council’s considering absorbing the court-awarded costs of the original suit and the appeal at taxpayers’ expense.”

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns indicated that the issue would be decided at the Jan. 15 council meeting.

The court cases have already cost Metchosin taxpayers $60,000, noted MRA vice-president Leanor Davidson.

To foot the bill for another $16,000 for the appeal defies logic, said Tremblay, pointing out that as of May 1, e-mails to the municipality accessed through a Freedom of Information request indicated 87 were against absorbing the cost, with 31 in favour.

The West Metchosin Ratepayers Association, formed in 2001 to get the moratorium on development in the Bilston watershed lifted, changed its name to the Metchosin Residents Association this month to widen the scope of membership to include all residents of Metchosin, Tremblay said.

“We have concerns with the direction council is taking on some issues,” said Davidson, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2002. “Most of us don’t know the specifics of a bylaw until it hits us between the eyes.”

In addition to the Wilde matter, the MRA’s pamphlet outlines concerns with Metchosin council’s decision to consider extending its border to include East Sooke, an application for a business park in the Woodruff Road area off of Sooke Road, and the owners of Centre Mountain’s promotion of 76 two-acre lots off of Neild Road in exchange for parkland.

The 200-member MRA’s goal is to expand membership to continue to safeguard property owners’ rights and protect the environment, as well as provide a more balanced voice for residents, Tremblay said.

“We want to represent all of Metchosin, not the chosen few,” Tremblay said.

There has been no consideration at this time as to whether the MRA will be endorsing candidates for the next municipal election in 2008, Tremblay said.

Executive members of the MRA also include Brent Donaldson, one of the founders of the West Metchosin Ratepayers Association, former Metchosin mayor Karen Watson, former Metchosin councillor Ed Cooper, Janet McDonald and Bill Sargent.

For more information on the MRA, contact Tremblay at 478-8543, or e-mail jadefrog@telus.net.

news@goldstreamgazette.com

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