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CRD broaches Marine Trail-Jordan River area land swap with developer

Nov 12 2011

A land swap that would see the Capital Regional District acquire controversy-ridden land adjoining the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in exchange for property around Jordan River has been unofficially discussed with developer Ender Ilkay.

But after having two proposals shot down by the CRD following a public outcry, Ilkay said he is reluctant to consider another development in the Juan de Fuca area.

"Frankly, I don't believe that the groups [that opposed plans for a resort on the Juan de Fuca land] would support a development in Jordan River," Ilkay said.

At public hearings for the resort, speakers frequently said the development belonged in Jordan River or Port Renfrew.

"I was very skeptical," Ilkay said. "I don't believe what they say."

Ilkay, Juan de Fuca regional director Mike Hicks, CRD parks committee chairman Christopher Causton and Lloyd Rushton, CRD parks general manager, met about three weeks ago.

The aim was to see if there was any possibility of acquiring the land for park, even if the CRD has no money to buy it, Hicks said.

The CRD earlier said it would consider selling some parcels around Jordan River that are unsuitable for parkland. The parcels were part of a package acquired from Western Forest Products.

"We bought more land than we needed because it was the only way we could get the land we wanted," Causton said.

The parks fund is already fully committed until 2016 - an extended timeline as the Land Conservancy, the CRD's partner in the WFP purchase, has been unable to raise the expected funds - so it is not possible to buy Ilkay's land, Causton said.

It made sense to meet with Ilkay when he asked to talk about options, Causton said, as "we are both large landowners in Juan de Fuca."

Ilkay said he will not make any decision until after the Nov. 19 municipal election, when the CRD board will change.

"We have to get a return on the land and there are only two options.

"Either some level of government or organization is going to step forth and purchase it, or we're left with no other option than to harvest it."


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