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Feb 22/04, Lake Cowichan Similarities
July, 2002 TimberWest sells a 434-acre parcel plus a 6-acre approach on Bald Mountain Peninsula at Lake Cowichan to Pinnacle Ventures Ltd. This block, #117, straddles the peninsula with shoreline frontage on both the northern and southern arms of the lake (see map in gallery). The block includes Scouts Canada's 5-acre Marble Bay Scout Camp which ten years before signed a 99-year lease with TimberWest. Block #117 is also the start of a recognized popular hiking trail leading to Bald Mountain (another link).

TimberWest had logged Block #117 approximately 9 years before the sell. After its purchase, Pinnacle Ventures resumes logging and removes all marketable timber clear cutting a 265-acre parcel in the centre of the block in the process.

  
April, 2003

Pinnacle Ventures' engineering firm, Bullock Baur, calls a community meeting to present development plans to Lake Cowichan, Meade Creek and Youbou residents. The meeting has no Regional government sanction and occurs prior to the Advisory Planning Commission review of the development plans. Pinnacle Ventures' plans include approximately 90 residential lots varying in size from acre to 2 acres placed along the northern and southern waterfronts. The plan also includes community water system and sewage treatment, building restrictions and wetland enhancement. As well, Pinnacle Ventures offers to donate recreational land to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (the 265 clear cut acres in the centre of the block). The plan also includes the relocation of the Marble Bay Scout camp. The problem facing Pinnacle Ventures is the area is not zoned residential but F1 which is a forestry designation and if the land is to be subdivided lots must be no less than 50-acres. During this period, Pinnacle Ventures acquires development funding for a single family subdivision from CareVest Capital Inc.

During this time, Pinnacle Ventures pays its fees, submits its application, and its development plans go before the Advisory Planning Commission (APC) and various government agencies; most have issues with Pinnacle's plans. The company is asked to rework the development however it refuses and wants to push ahead. The plans are placed on the Electoral Area Services Agenda and if rejected at this stage the file would be closed. Pinnacle then decides to withdraw plans from the agenda.

  
Aug, 2003

Pinnacle Ventures goes to the media over the APC's refusal to hold official public hearings on the initial plans. The APC says it must withhold support for public hearings while it reviews the Official Community Plan (OPC) and present zoning. Pinnacle tells the press that if its development plans meets a stumbling block at the political level, the project will not be viable and investors will not wait forever.

  
Present

Pinnacle Ventures application remains active but its development plans have not been resubmitted.

  
The above information was gathered from news reports from The Cowichan at www.warmland.ca as well as from speaking with Area I Director Brooke Hodson. The URL for the news reports are as follows:

The Friends of Egmont has contacted Mr. Brooke Hodson, Area I Director of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The following is based on his comments regarding Pinnacle Ventures proposed development plans for Block #117.

According to Mr. Hodson the major problem with the development plan was its "linear" design; that all lots were strung out along both waterfronts and in the process cutting off complete public access to the shoreline. Mr. Hodson says the APC would like to see a "cluster" approach to the development. As well, the CVRD rejected the 265-acre donated recreational parcel because, in Mr. Hodson's words, it was nothing more than a "stump ranch." He says it would take years to reclaim the land for public use; and, here again, public access to the waterfront was being denied. Mr. Hodson says there is some merit to the proposal if it is reworked to meet all parties' concerns; however, Mr. Hodson says that when the plan was rejected by the APC, Pinnacle Ventures took umbrage and went to the media and then put everything on hold. Hodson says the APC has left the door open for Pinnacle Ventures to submit a workable plan but there has been no movement to date.

Mr. Hodson was also asked to explain the rezoning procedures, and this is his reply: "The zoning is contingent on the applicant gaining the support of the community (residents, APC, Parks Commission along with the endorsements of other Provincial and Federal agencies). The compilation of all this would be placed before the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC - comprised of all Regional Directors). If the latter supports the proposal, it would move either to a Public Meeting or Public Hearing depending on the issues and strength of the support presented at the EASC."

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) outlines the process involved in rezoning and/or redesignating property in the district on its informative website. According to its list, Pinnacle Ventures did not proceed beyond #6 before putting the project on hold.


The Friends of Egmont also contacted the Youbou Timberless Society concerning the Marble Bay Scout Camp. The Society's Directors are aware of what took place between Pinnacle Ventures Ltd and Scouts Canada. According to the Society, the lease signed with TimberWest had a proviso that should TimberWest wish to move the camp at any time the logging company would assume all costs of relocation. This lease was carried forward with the sale of the land.

Pinnacle Ventures' Dennis Rogers proceeded with talks to move the camp and an area was decided on and all was agreed. However, at some point it was realized that the spot where the camp was to be relocated had been logged and as the Society says "what is the point of having a wilderness camp if there is no wilderness." As well, Pinnacle Ventures was approached and asked if they would leave a swampy area untouched as it was a favorite spot to take the scouts to observe wildlife. However, Pinnacle Ventures put a road through the swamp and removed all marketable timber.