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Some neighbours suing to have Riley's Cidery TUP quashed

Matter to be heard in court Oct. 5
Cidery from the road
Riley's Cidery as seen from Laura Road, opened in July 2021.

A petition to quash a temporary use permit which allowed Riley’s Cidery on Laura Road to begin operation earlier this summer will be heard in BC Supreme Court this fall, according to Bowen Island Municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer.

Filed in April, the petition lists Margaret Underhill, Brian Buckingham, Josephine Link and Steffen Link  – neighbouring property owners – as petitioners and Bowen Island Municipality as respondent. 

The petition for a judicial review alleges that Bowen Island Municipality failed to provide notice of council’s consideration of permitting apples grown and harvested off-site in the cider; that BIM “breached its duty of procedural fairness” by excluding a letter from two of the petitioners from the decisive March 22 council meeting agenda and that the adoption of the TUP is “unreasonable.” 

The TUP consideration notice BIM posted in the Undercurrent and to residents within 300 metres of the orchard property said that the “proposed cidery will utilize the existing apple orchards on site to produce cider for sale on site or through the Liquor Distribution Branch.” The TUP, however, allows up to 75 per cent of apples used in the cider to be imported, states the petition. 

The notice also listed a March 22 deadline for comment with a note that submissions could not be accepted once the council meeting that evening had ended. The Links sent in their comments at 4:40 p.m. on March 22 but their letter was not included in that evening’s agenda. Instead it was included in the post-decision April 12 agenda, said the petition. 

Under Bowen’s Official Community Plan, TUPs may be issued provided the use won’t have “an unacceptable negative impact” on environment or neighbourhood character. “Council, however, failed to consider the potential impacts on the neighbourhood and the environment caused by the importing of apples to the property…” said the petition. 

Bowen Island Municipality filed a response to the petition in June, which said that the council agendas contained detailed staff reports regarding the cidery proposal and the fruit that would be brought in from off-site. BIM’s response also said that the municipality received 124 written correspondences regarding the TUP and all but two items, which were received after 4 p.m. on March 22, were included on the agenda – “in keeping with Bowen’s stated deadlines for submission of correspondence to council.” 

The percentage of off-site apples is a provision of the TUP rather than ‘in general terms, the purpose of the permit,’ said the response. It added that the notices “directed the public to the main elements of the permit and were sufficient to prompt a multitude of residents, including all four petitioners, to comment on the use of apples and juice from off-site prior to council’s decision to approve the TUP.”

BIM asked that the petition be dismissed with costs. 

The matter is to come to court Oct. 5, according to BIM’s CAO.