South-end only ECO Depot vote approved

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has rubber-stamped a Regional Services Committee recommendation that only South Cowichanians will vote on the proposed ECO Depot location.

On Wednesday, CVRD directors approved a non-binding referendum for the Nov. 19 municipal election to ask folks in Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay if they support the proposal at 3224 Cameron-Taggart Road.

North Cowichan Director Dave Haywood expressed his dismay that constituents in North Cowichan were not being consulted when all 15 directors have spent so much time on the proposal and all CVRD residents will be paying for it.

“Only three (communities) are then entitled to express a vote on this very important issue that’s consumed hundreds of hours of my time too,” Haywood said. “This, by far, is the most important thing the board has done this term. This is a decision that should be made by this board.”

Saltair Director Mel Dorey reminded Haywood the referendum is non-binding, and that in the end, “a decision will be made by the 15 (directors), not by the three communities.”

Directors, however, acknowledged voter rejection of the proposal would have a huge effect on the final call.

“We’d actually be wrong, that’s it, and that has to be recognized,” Youbou Director Klaus Kuhn said.

The board also said yay to the RSC’s recommendation a communications strategy be developed to inform residents about the details of the vote and the project.

Cost of the facility, designed primarily to expand recycling operations in the south end in a convenient central location, is estimated at $2.5 million to $3 million, including land and studies.

The entire region would pay for its construction and operation, just as existing waste transfer facilities at Peerless Road, Bings Creek and Meade Creek are also being paid for by all.

It has met vocal opposition from residents, who say it is unsuited to the neighbourhood and contrary to zoning regulations.

Opponent Joseph Gollner said a lawsuit launched to prevent construction is scheduled to get its first hearing this morning.

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