The Supreme Court of Canada has declined the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit’s petition to appeal the November 2021 judgement of the BC Court of Appeal in favour of North Cowichan, again denying the track group the opportunity to expand its operations.
The VIMC had applied for a development permit to expand its motorsport circuit. In 2019 North Cowichan building and planning director Rob Conway opted not to issue the permit citing the proposed use was contrary to zoning bylaws.
Officials with the VIMC took issue with that as just four years before the group has been issued a development permit by then director of planning and development Scott Mack, “for what it says was the same proposed land use in relation to an identically zoned portion of adjoining property,” said the Supreme Court of Canada’s case summary.
When council upheld the North Cowichan planner’s refusal to issue the permit, the VIMC sought a judicial review.
“VIMC had challenged our process,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring. “Council said we don’t care what previous staff had indicated, that we are going to go with the staff report we have now before us that said it’s not an approved land use.”
After making its way through the lower courts, the VIMC had wanted the Supreme Court of Canada to weigh in, but on June 23, the higher court said it had dismissed the request and also awarded the municipality costs.
“I’m pleased with the decision,” Siebring said. “Part of it for me, as mayor, is I’m a process geek, and this was a challenge to the process we put together. I don’t like it when people challenge my process as mayor. I pride myself in doing [process work] by the book and this time the Supreme Court of Canada said, ‘Mayor Siebring, you did it right’.”
Visit https://decisions.scc-csc.ca/scc-csc/scc-l-csc-a/en/item/19426/index.do?q=North+Cowichan for the decision.
Siebring said, “It’s the end of this phase of it. What happens next is anybody’s guess,” adding that it was his understanding that there’d been some talk on the VIMC side of a civil suit but he hasn’t seen any paperwork to that effect.
“I think part of that suit was contingent on the one the Supreme Court of Canada has now ruled on,” he said.
The Citizen has reached out to VIMC officials and their counsel but has yet to receive a reply.