A Little Change, but Big Consequences for cape lazo

A Little Change, but Big Consequences for cape lazo

During the latest Comox Official Community Plan process hundreds of Valley residents made it abundantly clear they wanted Point Holmes maintained as it was: large, single family lots and plenty of green space. To their credit, most of the Comox Town Council agreed and  the plan was adopted.

But that may now be threatened.

Ever wonder how Comox town boundaries developed in such an odd fashion out here? Back in the day, Kye Bay, then in the Comox Strathcona Regional District,  had a real problem with their water and septic systems. Annexation by Comox solved those problems but others saw that as an opportunity to do something the RD zoning bylaws had not permitted.

Between Claddagh Estates on the bluffs at Cape Lazo and the property south of the Lazo Campground there are some quite large properties. Claddagh was in the planning stages, and both the Campground and another property were slated to be multi-story condo complexes. A number of smaller properties were also being considered for multi-home development. But zoning under RD rules did not permit that.

Owners of these properties then applied to Comox for annexation. They claimed they too had water and septic problems. Problem was, a septic study clearly showed septic systems were not a problem, so they doubled down on the water issue.

But many of those who complained of inadequate or tainted water had very shallow wells.  Experts felt strongly, digging deeper wells was the solution. Most who did had excellent water.

Annexation became a divisive issue but the proposed area had a bare majority of people who wanted it. Had Simon Crescent, Wireless Road, even properties on the north side of Lazo as it leaves the oceanfront been included, the referendum would have failed. But it was craftily managed and it passed. That’s why the Town boundaries out there are so crazy.

A cynic would say it was never about water or sewer, it was always about development.

Enter-Comox

Fortunately, at this time, Comox was developing its Official Community Plan. Two very different visions evolved. The developers saw Point Holmes with hundreds of new “doors”.

But in meeting after meeting,  the vast majority of Valley people said they valued Point Holmes as it was: large single family lots with plenty of green spaces. That vision prevailed in the OCP.

It didn’t take long for the Claddagh Estate developers and others to apply for variances. Only Claddagh was successful. They were allowed to develop several slightly smaller lots in return for opening up their gated community and dedicating land to parkland. Many of us thought that was a good trade.

Forward to today. Once again the Claddagh Estates developers are looking for a variance to permit subdivision into smaller lots. I won’t go into how some of those who built homes there feel betrayed by this and are concerned the value of their homes will decline. That fight is theirs. But I am concerned for other reasons.

This new variance application threatens the OCP. If approved, the owners of several other  large lots in the Cape Lazo area could also apply to subdivide. Once that variance is in place, it will be difficult for Council to deny other variances.

Developers will chop up Cape Lazo against every intention of the community plan.

Spit-Road-Hill

I’m also concerned about traffic on Lazo Road. It is unsafe now. There are no shoulders on the road for the many cyclists, walkers and joggers that use it every day. In fact, there is barely enough room for cars.

Problem is, there’s no hope of widening the road. First Nations consider the foot of the hill going up to Kye Bay a burial ground and the whole area of cultural significance. When the road was widened a number of skeletons were unearthed. Another skull was found recently. With the new walking path in place along the water, traffic could be a nightmare. The Claddagh variance will only make that worse.

Comox Council will consider this variance soon. If you share my concerns and want to see Point Holmes remain the gem that it now is, send a message to the mayor and council and attend that meeting. This little change could have very big consequences.

A call for civility: ‘NIMBY’ is not a four-letter word

A call for civility: ‘NIMBY’ is not a four-letter word

Don’t want a toxic waste dump built on the vacant lot next to your home? Better enlist someone from a neighboring province to become the face of your Stop the Dump! campaign.

Otherwise, you’ll be dismissed as a NIMBY.

People who live in Victoria neighborhoods near Clover Point, and who oppose building a sewage treatment plant in this popular city park, have been labelled as NIMBYs. The mayor of Comox has used the NIMBY term to describe residents of a neighborhood just outside the town’s boundaries where a sewage pump station is proposed.

The acronym stands for “not-in-my-backyard,” and it’s almost always used in a pejorative sense. It’s a way to suggest that any opposition originating out of self-interest could not possibly have merit.

And the term is meant to imply worse: it stereotypes individuals or groups who oppose projects as selfish, or as hypocritical people who would turn a blind eye if the project were built somewhere else. In some cases, that may be true.

But the dirty little secret is that people usually throw out the NIMBY label to feel ethically justified when they stop listening to opposing viewpoints. If you want to dismiss someone’s concerns without having to address them, just call them a NIMBY. As if that term alone explains everything.

British Columbians should leave this type of name-calling to the Donald Drumpfs of the world. There’s nothing wrong with speaking out about projects that affect people’s quality of life or the character of their neighborhoods.

… self-interest can blossom into important policy debates.

What homeowner would honestly say they hope someone builds a sewage plant or nuclear waste dump or a fracking operation next door? Or that they’re glad a stinking hazardous waste plant will likely devalue their home?

But those developments are going somewhere, so it’s natural that those who live closest to an environmentally or culturally sensitive project will be the first to ask hard questions. And that self-interest can blossom into important policy debates.

Was the decision-making process fair? Were conflicts of interest overlooked? Did municipalities make decisions without studies that were recommended, but never completed? Were undemocratic deals made? Are there better options?

These are questions that might never get answered unless the people most affected have the courage to ask them.

When civic activism rises out of self-interest, it can drift in essentially two directions. If the siting of a project was fair, and there are no better options, and the opposition is based on nothing but a narrow self-interest, the movement will usually fail.

But if the neighbors’ initial hard questions are ignored, or not answered rationally and respectfully, if it turns out the process wasn’t fair or better options were not explored, then a “not-in-my-backyard” campaign can easily transform into a “not-in-anyone’s-backyard” community movement.

More often than not, it’s someone who’s been labelled a NIMBY that exposes flaws in the decision-making process, and makes the larger community aware of important issues that otherwise would have remained hidden.

Bullying and bullies have no place in a civil society.

Only the saints always act out of altruism. The rest of us usually vote in our self-interest. We select candidates who we believe will focus on the issues important to us.

When we’re passionate about something, we support it. We’re most likely to give to charities that help family members or people we know. We support museums because we like history or art, and parks because our kids play baseball.

But there’s no good reason to deny people a democratic voice simply because they have a self-interest rooted in geography. Their motives are just as important as the developer who wants to make a profit, or the elected official who acts only to appease his or her voter base. Those are self-interests, too.

The Leap Manifesto offers a glimmer of hope that Canadians have gotten past using NIMBY name-calling to intimidate people. Supported by a wide variety of Canadians and elected officials, The Manifesto includes this sentence: “The new iron law of energy development must be: if you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.”

Bullying and bullies have no place in a civil society. So let’s stop labelling people to avoid debate on the merits of their arguments.

What I’ve learned about sex from Trump and Cruz

You know what I like about the U.S. presidential campaign? Sex.

That’s right, we are learning so much about the Republican candidates’ sexual preferences. It’s kind of like the Kardashians, except with angry, middle-age white guys.

Here’s what we know so far:

Donald Drumpf has guaranteed the American public that he has at least a normal-sized penis. This is important for the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. Sometimes, the U.S. president has to stand toe-to-toe with bullies like Vladimir Putin and compare the size of their nuclear arsenals. How could Drumpf dominate the little shirtless Russian if he’s sporting a genital comb-over?

Drumpf also has a hotter wife than challenger Ted Cruz, which he proved in a “hot-or-not?” national ad campaign showing a side-by-side comparison.

The First Lady in a Drumpf White House would not waste time trying to reverse the trend of childhood obesity, supporting military families, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education, or starting conversations about how working women can balance their careers and families, as Michelle Obama has done. Drumpf’s First Lady will make America great again by just standing behind The Donald and looking hot.

“Let me be clear: although Donald Drumpf is a rat, I have no desire to copulate with him.” But doesn’t this raise more questions than it answers?

We have not yet determined with any certainty whether Ted Cruz had an affair with one of this campaign staff, as Drumpf has alleged. It’s possible this is true, given the number of God-fearing anti-gay Republicans caught soliciting sex in airport bathrooms or flying to South America for extramarital affairs while supposedly hiking the Appalachian Trail.

But this is also Drumpf, who alleges President Obama was born in Kenya and is a devout Muslim, and that most Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists.

Ted Cruz appeared to come clean about his sexual preferences, stating in a news conference, “Let me be clear: although Donald Drumpf is a rat, I have no desire to copulate with him.” But doesn’t this raise more questions than it answers?

Would Cruz copulate with other rats, just not one that turned out to be Drumpf? Would Cruz copulate with other animals? Isn’t this illegal in most states, outside of the South?

How does a human copulate with rodents? Was this a comment on Drumpf’s penis size?

Cruz did, however, clarify his position on sex toys, to the relief of many Americans.

As the former Texas solicitor general, he argued to ban the sale of vibrators and other “obscene” sex toys, equating them to “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy.” But on a radio talk show, Cruz stated emphatically that he won’t ban the sale of sex toys if he’s elected president.

It was a clever political strategy to win over women — I may want to control your ovaries, but I won’t take away your vibrator.

And, finally, we have the third wheel, John Kasich, whose comments don’t matter all that much, except maybe to young women voters attending college.

In response to a woman concerned about rape on college campuses, Kasich said, “don’t go to parties with a lot of alcohol.” So that means pretty much no parties. Or, maybe  it means don’t go to parties where there are predatory, hormonal men emboldened by booze to act without respect for the dignity of other human beings?

It’s good that the Republican presidential candidates have talked about the “birds and the bees” so candidly. They have given American voters real substance upon which to cast their votes.

When Donald stops By The Woods On A Snowy Evening

When Donald stops By The Woods On A Snowy Evening

By Donald J Drumpf — 

I have a pretty good idea whose woods these are, believe me.
And let me tell you something, my people say he’s a complete nobody.
This guy lives in the village.  So what if he sees me stopping here?
I dare him to sue me!  I dare him!

And by the way, this snow is pathetic.
These are by far, the least downy flakes ever!
I hear they had to import them from Canada.
I don’t know. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. We’re looking into it.

My horse – he’s the most incredible horse, seriously,
I have the greatest, the classiest horses –
My horse doesn’t even know what the hell we’re doing here.
The horses love me though. They do.
They’re always shaking their bells at me, it’s very loving.
It’s a beautiful thing.

Let me tell you something, these woods are an embarrassment.
They’re not dark. They’re not deep. They’re nothing. They’re for losers.
And I cannot wait to sue this guy.
I cannot wait to sue this guy.

Please check out other fun pieces at the rottingpost.com. Here are direct links to a couple of them: http://bit.ly/1WrQLq6    http://bit.ly/1qRtlP9

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