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North Cowichan anticipates no legal expenses from motorsport legal fight

North Cowichan taxpayers are not expected to pay a dime as a result of a legal challenge by Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit over the Municipality’s refusal to allow expansion of the controversial operation.

In an email to, Chief Administrative Officer Ted Swabey said: “With respect to the legal costs incurred by North Cowichan in defending a legal challenge by the VIMC of Council’s decision to deny the Phase 2 development permit (at both the BC Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal), the amount of legal fees paid for a specific matter is subject to solicitor client privilege and will not be disclosed.

“We can confirm that North Cowichan’s insurance provider has paid all costs incurred in relation to this matter, other than the deductible amount.

“As well, the Court of Appeal awarded costs against the VIMC in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

“Factoring in anticipated payment of the costs payable by VIMC, North Cowichan’s net costs in relation to this matter will be $0.”

In a ruling last month, the BC Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the Municipality’s decision to deny a development permit for expansion. North Cowichan had appealed a Supreme Court ruling to reconsider its decision.

After a lengthy public hearing process, council voted 5-2 in October 2019 against allowing expansion of the Highway 18 motorsport operation — with Mayor Al Siebring and Councillor Tek Manhas in favour.

Then, Siebring ordered a second public hearing, warning that taxpayers needed to know they could be on the hook for tens of million of dollars if Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit took legal action.

After a second public hearing, council in December 2019 voted 6-1 against expansion after Siebring changed his vote, leaving only Manhas in favour.

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— Larry Pynn, Dec. 17, 2021


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