“If it does go through, will very much mean the diminishment, if not the absolute ruin, of the natural values of the land,” said Jay Shukin, the president of the Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin (APRM). “The 40 acres that they’re looking to subdivide is a wonderful natural area. It’s got mature forest, Gary Oaks, a pond big enough to go canoeing.”
The plan is to subdivide 40 acres of land that already has the proper zoning for development, enough to create eight sections of five-acre developments. The other 58 acres are zoned for agricultural use and are not included in their subdivision plans.
It’s a move Metchosin’s mayor is especially disappointed in.
“I felt betrayed. I’m still angry about it,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, who first heard about the subdivision application back in October.
He says Metchosin Council has given the club more than $300,000 worth of tax breaks over the past decade, with the understanding that the land would remain intact to be used for the community.
“It’s entirely within their right to do this. So, that in itself isn’t a big deal,” said Ranns. “I think the big deal is the recognition that those types of properties available for those types of uses are so rare in this region that it’s not just a Metchosin concern, it should be a regional concern. It’s a beautiful piece of land.”
He says the club is normally very open about their plans, and this was a blindsiding blow. Ranns says the Boys and Girls Club had already applied for the subdivision approval when they applied for the tax exemption from the District in 2020 — something he didn’t know.
“When we first started working with them, we were assured that they needed that property in its entirety to undertake the mandate that they had. So now, all of the sudden, without any consultation with us whatsoever we received this subdivision inquiry, and quite frankly I feel quite betrayed by this,” said the Mayor, who now wonders if the organization will properly be able to continue its program with so much of its prized land gone.
After the APRM looked into the club’s finances from the past year, Shukin isn’t sure why the organization decided to subdivide.
“We had a look at their financial statements from last year, they seem to finish with a surplus. They’ve been receiving large grants from provincial governments upwards of $3 million just to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Victoria. So it’s a mystery to us as to why they want to subdivide,” said the Metchosin resident.
Shukin says the community was not informed or consulted about the decision and would like the chance to speak with the club.
“We want to know why they’re doing this, and how the application serves their mission of serving family and youth in the Greater Victoria area,” said Shukin.