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Work underway to restore and improve Mill Bay’s stormstruck marina

A restored — and expanded -— Mill Bay Marina continues to float in the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s planning passages.

The wharf that was destroyed in the spring of 2010 is being re-envisioned by new owners Cam Pringle, Andrew Purdey and Dave Slang.

They’re currently jumping through bureaucratic hoops that include rezoning and development permit approvals through the CVRD, and marina construction approval through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“Yesterday the applicant appeared before the (CVRD) advisory planning commission with a development permit application, which is going along in tandem with the bylaw and zoning process,” Mill Bay alternate director, Roger Burgess, explained on Wednesday.

“Naturally the zoning has to be approved and turned into a bylaw before the development permit can be approved, but one is following very closely on the other.”

The application, Burgess added, is just for the townhouse and duplex development, as well as for the buildings on the marina structure.

“The approval for the marina itself is still pending approval from the DFO,” he explained.

“DFO has authority over the water lease, and the CVRD has authority over the zoning, and I understand from (Pringle) that DFO may wish him to move the marina farther out into the bay in order to avoid some eel grass.”

The developers could not be reached for comment, but Burgess said Pringle made a presentation on plans for the marina during Tuesday’s meeting.

The APC has recommended to the board that it proceed with the development permit application as presented, although there were a few concerns noted.

“One was increased traffic on Handy Road and the intersection there,” Burgess said. “The APC recommended the CVRD and the department of transport get together to improve that whole stretch there.”

The other concern was raised by a neighbour to the west of the marina, who stands to lose part of the property’s view due to the townhouse development.

“But I think it was felt that the marina was a greater community asset than the loss of one person’s view,” Burgess said.

“We’ve heard many people are very much in favour of (the marina) because it not only improves the marina, but a stretch of waterfront walkway will be turned over to the CVRD as park.

“That’s a tremendous asset, and we hope in the very, very long-term that it’ll be the beginning of a waterfront walkway extending much farther — but we’ve got to start somewhere and this is a great start.”

As Burgess pointed out, Mill Bay is a “seaside community without a very accessible waterfront.”

Other proposed marina work includes an upgraded boat launch plus fuel dock, which could also be a tourism booster.

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