The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) has approved a controversial shipyard in Port Harvey.
RDMW directors voted to adopt bylaw 895 at their May 15 board of directors’ meeting, which rezones a section of property in Port Harvey, located on West Carcroft Island in the Johnstone Strait (about 60 km south of Port McNeill), from “rural’ to “marine industrial”, which will allow the property owners to build a shipyard.
The shipyard, which is owned by Mike and Linda Buttle of Mike Buttle Services Ltd., is situated directly across from Port Harvey Marine Resort, a popular destination for pleasure boaters.
Bylaw 895 was the subject of a heated public hearing in July 2017, where a crowd of roughly 30 people voiced their opinion regarding the re-zoning on top of 65 written statements sent in from the public.
After delaying consideration of the bylaw during their August meeting, the RDMW Board of Directors approved a recommendation during their September 2017 meeting that the board give a second and third reading to bylaw 895, but postpone adoption until certain conditions were undertaken to the satisfaction of the RDMW.
The conditions were that the owners enter into a development agreement and that it “be registered on the title of the subject property in the form of a restrictive covenant” and the owners “apply to the Private Managed Forest Council to withdraw that portion of the property to be rezoned and used as part of the marine industrial operation from the private managed forest land designation.”
Jeff Long, RDMW Manager of Planning and Development Services confirmed the applicant had completed the conditions to the RDMW’s satisfaction and made the motion to proceed with the adoption of bylaw 895, which was approved by the directors.
“This has been a very difficult process to this point. It has taken a lot of diligence by local government,” said RDMW Chair Andrew Hory after the bylaw’s adoption. “I will stand by my comment earlier that it should not have come to local government in its current form — I appreciate what was done to this point, especially by staff, and I don’t expect that this is the end of the situation.”
Uses outlined in the bylaw will allow for repair and storage of barges, float camps, float homes and marine structures ancillary to logging, shipping and aquaculture; staff accommodations; storage of materials; docks; navigational aids; barge loading ramp; and one marine railway used to remove from the ocean or launch into the ocean.