The Municipality of North Cowichan is going to bat for the owners of the Chemainus River Campground.
Mayor Al Siebring said, by the Agricultural Land Commission threatening to shut down this family business in October, it flies in the face of what many groups are trying to do; lessen the impact of the housing crisis we currently find ourselves in.
“Here we have an affordable housing crisis in the valley, we have at least ten sites there that are permanent, year-round residences of people living in winterized fifth wheels. Now, another arm of the government comes along and says, ‘you got to shut that down,’ while we’re in the middle of these housing problems,” said Siebring.
He added that John and Jeri Wyatt need to go through the municipality to pursue an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion application.
“The Wyatt’s asked for an expansion, they went to the Agricultural Land Commission with that request, the ALC visited the site and said, ‘you’re not even supposed to have a campground here,’ and they ordered them to shut it down, effective October 1,” said Siebring.
“That order is not appealable by them (John and Jeri Wyatt), the only way to get that order removed is to have the land taken out of the Agricultural Land Reserve, which is what we are determined to try and do,” Siebring said.
“The irony is that part of the order says you have to return the land to its original agricultural condition, that land was never agricultural,” said Siebring.
The only thing that grew on that land was trees.