Silverdale Public Hearings end Dec.10/08

The Silverdale public hearings ended at about midnight Dec.10/08 after Mayor Atebe struck several names off the speaker’s list claiming that because these individuals had not used their full 12 minutes on a previous presentation, they were not permitted to make another presentation.  He then announced that the hearing would continue until the few remaining names were exhausted.
There will be no more opportunity to submit information to council before they make their decision although strangely enough, contacting individual councillors is considered OK.
CAUSS would like to congratulate and thank all those who spoke at and attended the hearings.  This was the only opportunity the public had to express and document the public perspective, and it was clear that the issues revealed by these presentations were very serious and important.  The public has revealed serious gaps in the plan and in the PDA.  Despite extensive marketing of the development as “environmentally responsible”,  federal Fisheries and provincial Ministry of Environment scientists do not support the plan or the process.  The stream setbacks proposed for this highly sensitive ecosystem are the minimum allowed under current legislation and do little to protect the habitat needs of non-aquatic endangered species.   Council admitted the 20 year legally binding Phased Development Agreement was drafted for the benefit of Genstar and the amenities included in the agreement are of little or no benefit to the rest of Mission. 
Some speakers were clearly harassed and censored by the Mayor and Councillor Stevens, who appeared to be spending much of her time listening to tapes of past presentations, rather than the speakers in front of her, and then interrupted speakers with accusations that they were repeating themselves. Many speakers stated they felt attacked or intimidated. This sad state of affairs does not diminish in any way the importance of what was said and does not negate the need for the public interest to be protected.
It is now up to council to at least appear to deliberate, and act on the publics’ concerns.  Given Genstar’s recent position that they will not start for at least 2 years due to the economic downturn, there really is no excuse for council to ignore citizen’s concerns.  
CAUSS recommends that all Silverdale residents arrange to have their wells tested as soon as possible, and keep records of their wells’ water quality and quantity.