Nanaimo Residents Up In Arms Over Denial Of Historic Access By Midland Lobbyist
In a followup to the stories we’ve republished about local lobbyist (and developer) Roy Ellis, who is a co-owner of Tiara Holdings, and after contacting several residents involved in the fight against his plan to dredge and back-fill a historic marina (Boat Harbour Marina), we have been asked to tell the story to our community. The residents most affected by this development have banded together, formed at least one petition, and have begun legal proceedings to save historic access to the surrounding parkland walking trails and the bay.
One resident in particular, Emma Bayly is hoping that pressure from Roy Ellis’s home town community may convince him to abandon the plans to back-fill the marina for a parking lot enhancement, embrace the public’s historic access rights and not to deprive several residents of access to the waterfront for recreational use.
In a story published by CHEK in British Columbia, Kendal Hanson writes “Historic public use raises questions about public rights of way”
Residents south of Nanaimo, in the Yellowpoint area, are upset by the actions of some private land owners.
The residents say they take issue with a blockage of access to trails they’ve always used and they have environmental concerns related to the development of the Boat Harbour waterfront.
But the property owners (Tiara Holdings – Roy Ellis and Alvin Hui) say they’re acting within their rights.
Emma Bayly is among the nearby neighbours. She’s had a view of Boat Harbour since 1973 and she’s worried what could happen to that view and potential environmental impacts that could result from a proposed development.”
Bayly is among a group of nearby residents who are opposed to dredging and using what’s pulled up to infill an area to enlarge the marina’s parking lot.
It’s work the property owner appears to have proper approvals for in part thanks to a Crown Grant dating back to 1911.
“It’s like that old Joni Mitchell song,” says neighbour Barbara Storch. “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. You take paradise and put up a parking lot. It’s exactly like that.”
These residents are also among more than 1,000 people who have signed a petition about a trail that extends from Morden Colliery Historic Provincial park to Boat Harbour.
The piece between Hemer Provincial Park and Boat Harbour has always been accessed by locals, since the days it was a railway, even though it’s on private land.
But two years ago the most recent landowner (Tiara Holdings) put up gates blocking it’s access.
“People felt very affronted by the fact they were now gated and barb wired and cemented out of these trails that historically have legal right of ways,” says neighbour Anne Fiddick.
“It’s been used by the public for over a hundred years so there’s a common right of way that should be identified,” adds neighbour Jim Fiddick.
Residents want the government to push for a return of the public trail access which has been turned down most recently the Province.
“They have informed us by way of a letter that they do not intend on pursuing the idea of there being a public access through the balance of the trail to the boat harbour,” says the area director from the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Alec McPherson.
The RDN says it intends to work with the landowners and require access through any future development. But the land owners say they don’t plan to develop the property containing the trail, which they’ve spent a lot of time cleaning up, including 17 abandoned vehicles during the past five years.
The Hui’s also say any development at the marina will certainly have proper approvals.”
Editors Note: Just because you “can” do something doesn’t mean that you “should” do something. Perhaps Mr. Ellis will have a change of heart and do right by the Nanaimo community without dragging these elderly life-long residents through the legal system and great expense. We will continue to follow these developments (no pun intended) and report back with updates.