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Another Contentious Public Hearing Begins Monday

Expect a full house at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre Monday night, as North Cowichan council is holding another public hearing involving the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit.

The track came to the municipality last February, requesting a development permit, to which the municipality responded by pitching the idea of a comprehensive development zone for both phase one and two.

On October 4, council defeated that zoning application by a 5-2 vote and Mayor Al Siebring said that prompted more action from VIMC.

“VIMC sent us a letter, basically resetting the clock, saying ‘well, you’ve turned down the comprehensive development zone, so now we’re back to where we were last year, give us our development permit for phase two,’ ” said Siebring.

He added, “Staff responded and said, ‘no’ we’re going to deny that development permit because we don’t think it matches the zoning, VIMC had the right to appeal that decision to council and they did that. Council voted to uphold staff’s decision.”

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Six of the seven council members voted that the development at VIMC doesn’t match the I-2 zoning.

VIMC is expected to seek $60 million dollars in damages if North Cowichan council rejects a development permit for phase two.

North Cowichan council received a report on a range of tax implications coming out of the VIMC file and in that report two recommendations were made.

  1. That council direct staff to include 0.5 percent annually to an insurance reserve fund and
  2. That council rise and report on the CAO’s December 4, 2019, report about VIMC’s Claim for Damages and Property Tax Implications.

What VIMC Phase One includes (est. $35 million dollars):

  • the circuit
  • clubhouse facilities
  • introduction of municipal water and high-speed internet

What VIMC Phase Two includes (est. $60 million dollars):

  • extension of existing track, totalling 5.2 km
  • 31 corners
  • car storage facility
  • second clubhouse
  • experience centres for automotive manufacturers
  • off-road track experience course
  • a horseback riding facility
  • nine-hole executive golf course
  • hiking and riding trails
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