Happy Spring! The days are getting longer, and the spring peepers have started their dusk serenade. Here are some updates on various happenings around the community, including the BC Summer Games, our latest fundraising events, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit rezoning application, and our lawsuit.
VOLUNTEER FOR THE GAMES!
This summer, the Cowichan Valley will be hosting the BC Summer Games (July 19 - 22). A fantastic team of hard-working organizers are looking to fill approximately 3000 volunteer positions, and they are reaching out to the community for help. The Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association would like to see Sahtlam step up and show our community spirit! Please consider volunteering - even just a few hours would be a huge help. To volunteer, or for more information, please visit the BC Summer Games Cowichan website.
FUNDRAISING SUCCESS STORIES
On February 3rd, the Farm Table Inn hosted a fundraising event for the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association. Guests enjoyed a wonderful buffet of hot and cold dishes created by the charming and talented Chef George! Supporters from all over the Cowichan Valley came to enjoy the good food, great company, door prizes, and a fabulous silent auction. We raised over $5000 for our legal defence fund (which, as you will read below, is currently seeing a lot of action!).
Following on the success of our last Beer and Burger Nite in November, the SNA hosted another event on March 11, this time at the Cowichan Valley Inn. Approximately 100 supporters turned out to share a delicious burger, fries, and beverage with their neighbours. Thanks to the continued generosity of our community, we raised $3000. And a huge thanks to our fabulous host, Eric!
VIMC REZONING APPLICATION
Last July, we announced that the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit had applied to rezone 280 acres of property on the foothills of Mt. Prevost. Although we anticipated that the matter would be forwarded to the Community Planning Advisory Committee some time that fall, the process has slowed to a near-stall, and we are now wondering if the sitting council will even hear the matter before the municipal elections in October.
The holdup relates to two reports that North Cowichan has requested and are still waiting for. The first is a noise modelling study for the proposed track extension, which would triple the footprint of the current track. So far, VIMC has delivered a report only on the existing facility. North Cowichan is also waiting for a Community Engagement Plan, whereby VIMC is required to present information to the public and be available to answer questions before the matter goes to an official public hearing. These reports are needed before the numerous stakeholders identified by council will be invited to comment on the proposal. We promise to keep you posted as things move forward.
In June 2017, frustrated with the lack of action on the part of North Cowichan, the SNA filed a notice of civil claim against the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. The main part of our suit is a claim of nuisance against VIMC: provincial nuisance laws prohibit anyone from disrupting the "peaceful use and enjoyment of property" due to noise or other forms of pollution.
After waiting months for a response from VIMC's legal representatives, the suit is finally moving forward. Evidentiary documents have been exchanged, and plaintiffs are preparing for deposition in April. Aside from the actual trial, this is the most expensive part of the process in terms of legal fees. Our fantastic lawyers from Cox Taylor have been hard at work preparing for the depositions of all six plaintiffs, which is expected to take several days.
As you all know, noise from the track continues to be a problem for many residents in the area. The fight to regain the peace and quiet of our neighbourhood must continue, particularly given that our elected officials seem powerless to do anything about the situation. We would not be able to stand up for our community without the contributions from so many supporters, both here in Sahtlam and across the wider Cowichan region. Thank you! This situation has brought our community closer together, and together we will remain strong!
We'd like to give a huge shout-out to our fabulous fundraising team! They work tirelessly to organize events that raise money for our organization so we can continue to advocate for the residents of Sahtlam. The events are also fun and provide a great excuse for neighbours to come together and socialize as a community. If you would like to donate some time to our fundraising efforts, please contact our team.