Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in Cowichan Valley. Supplied by VIMC Facebook page.
North Cowichan council will meet today (Tuesday) to explore its options after a BC Supreme Court Justice sent the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit property rezoning application back to the municipality for reconsideration.
A BC Supreme Court Justice overturned the council’s decision on the request to rezone the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit property from Heavy Industrial and Commercial Rural Recreation to the municipality’s Comprehensive Development zoning to allow for an expansion of the VIMC track in North Cowichan.
In her decision, which was released yesterday, Madam Justice Diane MacDonald wrote that for six years, North Cowichan “supported the petitioner’s development and was satisfied that its uses complied with the Zoning Bylaw.”
She called it “arbitrary for the Council to diametrically disagree with a past interpretation of the Zoning Bylaw without explaining the basis for the disagreement.”
Justice MacDonald says while North Cowichan did state that the use of the land did not comply with zoning, it did not give an explanation.
She has ruled that North Cowichan council’s decision was unreasonable:
The BC Supreme Court has sent the matter back for reconsideration, together with the completed application materials, and ordered North Cowichan council to assess the application on its technical merits and reconsider it.
North Cowichan Mayor Siebring says they will reach through the ruling and discuss their options, which include launching an appeal, or “do what the judge said and reconsider the whole thing once again.”
The Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit facility was built in 2016 and is owned by GAIN Group.
During packed public hearings a year ago, a large number of residents living in the vicinity of the facility argued against the application because of the noise created by high-performance sports cars being operated at high speeds on the track.
Members of North Cowichan’s council voted twice to reject the rezoning application that would have paved the way for the track to be enlarged.