Three Development Proposals on Quadra Island

Editor’s Note: The central question in two of the rezoning applications mentioned below is whether future owners can remove the covenants from land they purchase. This is an important issue on Cortes, Quadra and any other community where there are land covenants.

The potential rezoning of three Quadra Island properties was discussed at the May 22 SRD Board meeting. Rick Schellinck has received approval to hold a public meeting regarding his proposal to rezone 64 hectares at Gowland Harbour for future development. Two applications to remove covenants from properties, so they can be subdivided, were denied. 

Regarding the second item, Regional Director Robyn Mawhinney had previously told the Electoral Areas Services Comittee, “A covenant is defined as a formal, solemn, and binding agreement and, overwhelmingly, the message that I have received from Islanders is that covenants are promises to the community, lasting promises, which must continue to be respected. These properties came with the covenants attached to the title. The purchasers of these properties knew that they existed. While the idea of adding one lot to island inventory isn’t necessarily bad, discharging covenants was seen by many as opening the door to more such future applications and a lessening of the formal binding nature which covenants are meant to hold.” 

Regional Director Robyn Mawhinney of Area C – submitted photo

Both of the covenants on these properties are old. 

In 2007, a 26 Strata Lot development was allowed to proceed at Copper Bluffs because the developer put covenants on his adjacent properties. All but two of the strata lots were smaller than what zoning permitted, but adding the developer’s land into the equation brought the average lot size up to an acceptable level. 

The present owner of 520 Upshur Road, which formerly belonged to the developer, wishes to have the covenant removed so that they can subdivide. 

Similarly, the current owner of 1731 Kanish View Drive wishes to have a covenant removed so that they can subdivide their property into 4 lots. 

At the May 22 meeting, Director Mawhinney informed the board, “the Area C Advisory Planning Commission met and discussed this Kanish Bay application and the following Upshur Road application. They also heard a delegation from one of the applicants. The Advisory Planning Commission did not support either covenant discharge application. The Advisory Planning Commission provided an additional motion, which supports maintaining the covenants for 520 Upshur Road and 1731 Kanishbu Drive as legal agreements freely entered into by the Regional District and landowners, recognizing that maintaining these covenants causes less land to be available for housing than would otherwise be the case.” 

The minutes of the Area C Planning Comission show that, in both cases, 7 out of 9 comissioners voted against removing the covenants.  

Director Mawhinney moved, and Director Whalley seconded, motions that the application to remove both covenants be denied. These carried with no opposing votes. 

Rick Schellinck has been trying to obtain approval to develop his property in Gowland Harbour since 2011. There has been a great deal of opposition from the surrounding community. The most recent application was to create 51 residential lots, a campground, marina and two waterfront parks. After 11 years of delays, the proposed Gowland Harbour Views development was finally allowed to have a public meeting on April 20, 2022

The Regional Director at that time, Jim Abram, reported all but 8 of the 546 submissions made at that meeting were in opposition. All four Regional Directors subsequently voted against the project, effectively killing that version of it. 

Now Schellinck is back with a proposal to rezone 64-hectares so that he can create a subdivision of twenty-two 2 hectare rural residential lots,  a 5 hectare Agricultural Land Reserve parcel, and two small Regional District Parks.

Director Robyn Mawhinney moved, and Director Mark Vonesch seconded, that Shellinck be allowed to hold a public meeting for his proposal in the Quadra Community Centre at 6:30 on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. This was also carried with no opposing votes. 

Top photo credit: courtesy Robyn Mawhinney’s Director’s reportScreenshots of minutes taken from May 22, SRD Board meeting

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One thought on “Three Development Proposals on Quadra Island”

  1. Great that the covenants were upheld! These are placed with sometimes benefits to the previous owner, which it sounds like these were. They must be honoured! Land is sacred. We need to learn to live within our means, rather than trying to make human needs the priority. With 90% of most species at risk, and many already threatened or extinct, we must maintain biodiversity. Covenants help with keeping land and the areas they protect free of development.

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