Public Hearings & Meetings

Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd. Rezoning Application

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No.  4264 

Applicable to Electoral Area D - Cowichan Bay 

Application #: 03-D-16RS


Notice is hereby given that a Public Hearing will be held to consider Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4264, applicable to Electoral Area D - Cowichan Bay (Marine).

Date: March 12, 2019

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Island Savings Centre, Heritage Hall, 2687 James Street, Duncan, BC


A rezoning application has been submitted to the CVRD by Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd. to amend the permitted uses and zoning boundary of the subject property located at 5105 Westcan Terminal Road better known as the Cowichan Bay causeway. The proposed changes include:

  • Amending the uses in the I-3 (Transportation Based Industrial) zone to include “marine manufacturing” and “marine safety operations” and remove “petroleum terminal facility, including storage facilities but excluding liquefied natural gas”.
  • Adding the definitions of “marine manufacturing”, “marine safety operations” and “storage facility”.
  • Rezoning the southwest boundary of the subject from W-7 (Water Industrial Zone) to I-3 (Transportation Based Industrial Zone) to approximately align with the high water mark.

Image 1


The subject property is located on a causeway in the Cowichan Bay Estuary. The causeway was constructed by the Canadian National Railway in the 1920’s as shipping terminal used primarily for lumber exports. The causeway is built on filled foreshore, with the underlying ownership residing with the Province of British Columbia. The land is leased to Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of Western Stevedoring Company Limited. Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd. holds 13 lease agreements with the Province, which began in 1989 and are in effect  for a period of 50 years. Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd. in-turn sub-leases the land to Western Stevedoring, Falt Towing, Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and Pacific Industrial Marine Ltd (see Provincial Lease Area Map).

Image 2The causeway is used for shipping lumber and other products. There are currently four business operating from the causeway:

  • Western Stevedoring;
  • Falt Towing;
  • Western Canada Marine Response Corporation; and
  • Pacific Industrial Marine.


In 2016, the CVRD received a complaint regarding a business operating outside of the permitted uses of the I-3 Transportation-Based Industrial Zone. This was confirmed through bylaw investigation. Tidal was provided the option to cease non-permitted uses or apply to amend the zoning. Tidal Harmony Holdings Ltd. opted to apply for a rezoning. A decision regarding the proposed rezoning rests with the Board as does bylaw enforcement.


Electoral Area D – Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 3605

The Electoral Area D Official Community Plan (OCP) represents the collective values and vision of community members, and represents a current policy framework to guide decisions on land use and planning activities in the Plan Area.

Goal statements contained within the OCP that are relevant to this application include:

  • Restore, protect & enhance the health of the Cowichan estuary & marine foreshore; and,
  • Encourage meaningful economic development & employment.

The OCP designates the causeway as MI - “Marine Industrial”. The objective of the Marine Industrial Designation is to “provide for marine-dependent industrial activities in Cowichan Bay in a manner that balances the needs of a healthy economy and a healthy environment”. The water surface adjacent to the causeway is designated MAR – “Marine Resource”.

Policies applicable to the Marine Industrial Designation are:

  • Within the MI designation, the implementing zoning bylaw will include zones to accommodate marine-dependent industries and activities consistent with the Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Plan (CEEMP), Order in Council 1652, and amendments thereto.
  • The CVRD recognizes that boundaries of Crown tenures within the MI designation and corresponding zones may be adjusted if determined to be consistent with the CEEMP, to the satisfaction of the CEEMP Committee. Respecting Crown tenures, the implementing zoning bylaw should include provisions specifying the area of water surface that may be used for marine industrial activities consistent with the CEEMP.
  • The CVRD will support the continuation of non-polluting marine-dependent industrial activities within the CEEMP boundaries, ensuring that regulatory bylaws are consistent with the CEEMP
  • Where the CVRD has confirmed that uses specified by Crown tenure agreements have been inactive for a period of at least five years, the CVRD will undertake a public process to amend the OCP by changing the designation within the inactive tenure areas from Marine Industrial to Marine Resource.
  • Applications to rezone lands within the MI designation will be considered, subject to the criteria in Section 10.2.2, in addition to the following:
  • The proposed use is consistent with the CEEMP and any required environmental studies have been completed to the satisfaction of the CEEMP Committee;
  • The site will be developed in a manner which complements adjacent development with respect to use, scale, and building height;
  • Any parking required to serve the development will be located at the rear of buildings or underground; if impractical to provide parking on-site, cash-in-lieu will be provided;
  • The proposed use will be sufficiently screened, masked, buffered or otherwise mitigated, to avoid negative impacts such as noise, water and air pollution or loss of public views;
  • A reclamation plan or environmental mitigation plan is in place where contamination exists; and,
  • Applications that support enhancement of the Cowichan Estuary will be prioritized.

Current Official Community Plan Map

Image 3Electoral Area D – Zoning Bylaw No. 1015

The Zoning Bylaw implements the land use planning visions expressed in the Electoral Area D Official Community Plan. The Zoning Bylaw divides the plan area into zones, and the boundaries of the zones. The zones regulate matters such as the use, siting, size and dimensions of buildings and structures.

The subject property is comprised of 3 zones with the following permitted uses:

I-3 – Transportation-based Industrial 

The following uses and no others are permitted in an I-3 Zone:

1. Terminal facilities for automobile, truck and rail transportation of goods, materials and people, including storage facilities;

2. Petroleum terminal facility, including storage facilities but excluding liquefied natural gas; and,

3. One single family dwelling per parcel, accessory to a principle use permitted in Section 11.1(a) (1) and (2).

W-7 Zone – Water Industrial

The following principal uses and no others are permitted:

1. Environmental protection, restoration and enhancement;

2. Environmental education;

3. Boat building, repairs or sales;

4. Log storage and handling;

W-1 Zone – Water Conservancy

The following uses and no others are permitted in the W-1 Zone:

1. Activities directed towards environmental protection and habitat enhancement;

2. Passive recreational activities;

3. Management of a waterbody, lake or reservoir, by an improvement district, municipality or regional district for use as a community water supply; and

4. Non-commercial private wharf, dock or float.

Current Zoning Bylaw Map

Image 4Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Plan (CEEMP)

The  Cowichan  Bay  estuary  is  one  of  the  largest  estuaries  on  the  coast  of  British  Columbia,  where  both  the Cowichan and Koksilah River watersheds flow into.  It is a focal point in the Plan Area, representing a biologically diverse ecosystem, which is sensitive to human activity.  Loss and degradation of estuarine habitat has resulted from diking for agriculture, land development, log handling, and water pollution from waste discharges, sewage disposal and agricultural surface runoff.  In response to these concerns, the Ministry of Environment introduced the  Cowichan  Estuary  Environmental  Management  Plan  (CEEMP)  by  Order  in  Council  (1987)  “to  provide  a framework for environmental decisions and to balance environmental priorities and concerns with those of other interests and organizations”.   Since its inception, the CEEMP has been administered by a cross-jurisdictional committee of representatives of the CVRD, Ministry of Environment, Cowichan Tribes, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the District of North Cowichan.  The committee deals with applications for activities within the Cowichan Estuary and Cowichan Bay Village.  Accordingly, the activities occurring within the boundaries of the CEEMP must be consistent with the Plan and are subject to review by the CEEMP committee.

The CEEMP has designated specific areas, and the general types of activities that are acceptable. The CEEMP designates the subject property as “Industrial/Commercial”, and a portion of the water surface to the north of the subject property as “Habitat Management”.  The “Industrial/Commercial” designation includes activities such as Forest Industrial, Port Industrial and Commercial.  The “Habitat Management” designation signifies areas where habitat enhancement has been proposed.



Every property in the CVRD is designated by a “zone”, that determines the type of activities permitted on a property,  the  location and  size  of  buildings  that  can  be  constructed  and  the  lot  size  that  can  be  created. A Rezoning is the public process required to change the land use or increase density on a property beyond what  is permitted by the Zoning Bylaw − usually by changing the zone of the property. The graphic below provides a visual representation of the rezoning process to date and next steps.

Rezoning Approval Process  To Date

Image 6


Question: What is the scope of the operations of each of the existing businesses?

Western  Stevedoring  The  company  has  been  operating  at  the  subject  property  since  2003. Company operations include: Marine cargo assembly, storage and handling; an office which serves as the headquarters of the Vancouver Island operations; the storage of lumber and gear used for marine cargo assembly and handling; and the manufacturing of catwalks for internal operations. The facilities include an office building, workshop and outdoor storage area.

Falt Towing In operation for 47 years, the company runs a marine towing business that moves marine structures, equipment and logs.   The facilities include a small building used for operations and fuel storage.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation Response organization that stores various marine safety and spill recovery equipment encase of an oil spill.  The organization has been operating out of the terminal since 2016, and services the Strait of Georgia, Salish Sea and the Haro Strait.

Pacific  Industrial  Marine The  company  has  been  operating  at  the  subject  property  since  1990, constructing concrete floats and bridge components.  The facilities include: a steel fabrication shop; an  enclosed  tent  structure  where  painting  and sandblasting  are  conducted,  and  a  pre-cast  yard where steel strapping, steel rods and timbers are stored and used in the manufacturing process.

Question: What is the role and responsibility of the CVRD in the rezoning process?

The role and responsibility of the CVRD is to ensure that any rezoning is in accordance with the objectives and policies of the Official Community Plans and the land use regulations specificed in the Zoning Bylaws and as set out in the Local Government Act.

Question: What is the role and responsibility of the Ministry of Environment?

The role and responsibility of the Ministry of Environment is to ensure the environmental protection of air, soils, surface waters, and groundwater quality as set out in the Environmental Management Act. The Ministry of Environmental jurisdiction extends to matters relating to Contaminated Sites Regulation, Waste Discharge Regulation, and the Hazardous Waste Regulation.

Question: What is the role and responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

The role and responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is to ensure the protection of  freshwater and marine environments as per the Oceans Act and Fisheries Act. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans also supports legislation as the Species at Risk Act specifically relating to aquatic species at risk.

Documentation Relating to the Application

1. Rezoning Application Submitted

2. Stormwater Management Plan 

3. Environmental Management Plan

4. Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Plan (CEEMP)

5.  Staff Referral Report

6.  EASC Staff Report 

7.  Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4264

8.  March 12, 2019, Notice of Public Hearing 

9.  Electoral Area D - Cowichan Bay (Marine) Zoning Bylaw No. 1015

10.  Electoral Area D - Cowichan Bay Official Community Plan No. 3605

For more information:

Contact Kasia Biegun, Planner II, Development Services Division, Land Use Services Department.  250.746.2620 or 1.800.665.3955 or by email: