Letter to the Premier

Honourable Christy Clark
PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria  BC  V8W 9E1

17th January 2012

Re: Proposed Order In Council to extinguish UREP designation from Crown Land at Bridge Lake, Cariboo Regional District

On behalf of our membership, we the Directors of Friends of Bridge Lake are writing to request that you vote against an impending Order In Council which seeks to remove UREP designation *) from Crown Land at Bridge Lake – a designation which has been in place since 1945.

This OIC has been proposed in order to allow a private developer, Cariboo Heritage Land Developments Ltd., to exchange an island known as ‘Rainbow Island’ for 44.5 acres of Crown Land on the nearby shoreline of Bridge Lake, 18 acres of which comprise the UREP.

Briefly, the history of events has been as follows:

  • Cariboo Heritage Land Developments Ltd. purchased the island in 2007 for intended subdivision into 29 housing lots.
  • The island is zoned as non-residential Resource Land in the Interlakes Official Community Plan. Re-zoning from ‘Resource’ to ‘Residential’ designation was required if the proposed development was to proceed.
  • CHLD Ltd submitted a re-zoning application in 2008. Public Hearings revealed overwhelming opposition to the re-zoning proposal. In consequence, the application was withdrawn.
  • CHLD Ltd then proposed to relinquish ownership of the island if given the Crown Land parcel containing the UREP.
  • The proposed exchange was subjected to a process of comparative valuation by the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations. The content, methods, and results of that process have not been publicly disclosed, despite initial agreement to do so.
  • Notwithstanding this, the Ministry now seeks Cabinet agreement to proceed with an OIC.

CHLD Ltd proposes to divide the Crown Land parcel into 18 two-acre lots, 10 of which would occupy the UREP. B.C. Government policy documents state unequivocally that exchanges of Crown land for private land should not take place unless a clear net benefit to the public interest can be shown. We submit that no such benefit has been demonstrated in this case, and that it is not capable of doing so.

Crown Land now comprises about 25 percent of the Bridge Lake shoreline. There is no shortage of undeveloped land elsewhere around Bridge Lake for private interests to pursue if they so choose. If the Bridge Lake parcel with the UREP is handed to CHLD Ltd. for housing development, its financial value to CHLD will greatly exceed that of the island received in exchange. The government’s probity will be in question if the UREP is extinguished for undisclosed reasons and public land is given to private interests for no demonstrable public benefit.

We ask you to sustain the UREP and reject the OIC.

Yours sincerely,

Friends of Bridge Lake
Mozie Glueck, President
Les Anderson, Vice-President
Pamela Canty, Secretary
Glenda Bruce, Treasurer
Christine Lance, Membership
Sheila Michener, Director
Helen Morrow, Director

*) Use for Recreation and Enjoyment by the Public