Western Forest Products Lands

“A proposed by-law that could see forest and waterfront land on the south island into suburban sprawl is the ‘largest land change in CRD history’ and should be treated as such….”
-from the Times Colonist, October 4, 2009. Article by Judith Lavoie


Dear Shirley Community Member:

The largest land use decision in the history of our area is being made with virtually no involvement with the residents of our community. The decision, being made by representatives of Sooke, Langford, and Colwood as well as JdFEA Regional Director Mike Hicks, will undoubtedly change the rural nature of Shirley and the surrounding area forever.

Attached is the most recent article from the Times Colonist newspaper outlining a decision that will affect you and the rural community in which you and your family live.

This decision will affect your water, your family’s safety and your roads.

This decision affecting the Western Forest Products land pulled from the Provincial Tree Farm License (TFL) is a rush to judgment. There have been only a few sparsely attended and minimally publicized official meetings, little discussion of the negative impact of this massive land grab and now a so called “zoning/planning” process in place after the court decision.

The Association of BC Landowners, who took the decision-making process surrounding the bylaw to court, is leading the fight to develop all the forestland – which would cause an uncontrolled urban sprawl invasion into our community.

Stand on your deck, walk to the top of Shirley Hill, go outside anywhere within the Shirley Community, it is all forestland that was removed from Provincial control and will be developed.

It will be developed however the developers desire, with little involvement from you and your neighbours. It will be developed by out of town business concerns scheming with a land use committee that is made up of representatives of the most overdeveloped communities on the West Coast. Yes you heard it right, Sooke, Colwood and Langford representatives will decide for you how Shirley is developed.

• Have you seen the Sooke Council deny large developments?

• Would you like living in a Langford style community?

• Do you enjoy the traffic and congestion of Colwood?

• Have you watched how Sooke and a low-end hotel chain from Kelowna have worked to ravage the foreshore and build a Plantation style cookie cutter hotel?

All that and more is coming to Shirley.

The new land use process is just like us being amalgamated with Sooke – Didn’t we just vote over 82% against that proposal?

Our water supply is our most precious commodity. Rich Coleman, the former forestry minister, promised in a letter to SEAS as well in his “negotiations” with Western Forest Products that the local drinking water would be protected as a condition of the removal of the 132,000 hectares of land (almost 2/3 of the entire Juan de Fuca Electoral Area) from the TFL. So far, when the Province and Western Forest Products were pressed, they would commit to do nothing except say they would protect the drinking water. What does that mean? As you know by past performance – Nothing.

When asked if Western Forest Products management would place protective covenants of the property to protect both surface water and well water users in the area, the answer was no. When asked if the Province would help protect community’s watershed and well water users, the Province said it was up to Western Forest Products or the subsequent owners. It’s just more of the same – help the developers, the large landholders with no regard or guarantees for the residents of our small rural community.

So, if you’re happy with the way government is handling the development of WFP lands, and your happy with uncontrolled growth, no planning and making Shirley just like Colwood, Langford and Sooke – then stay on the sidelines.

If you are, like many SEAS members,

• unhappy with the process;

• want a say in your community and the land use decisions that affect your family;

• want to keep Shirley rural and not allow it to become an urban sprawl suburb of Sooke,

then please join SEAS and make certain your voice is heard loud and clear.

What has SEAS done to keep Shirley rural in the 6 years since it’s creation? Lots to protect the Shirley community (read more inside).

Watch the SEAS website for details of our next meeting. Sign on to www.seasbc.org today and please send your contribution and membership today – if you are already a member, then thank you and please help us by contributing even a small amount to help our fight to educate and make certain we can keep Shirley “supernatural” by staying rural.


John Walls, President -and on behalf of the SEAS Executive

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