By Steve Hubrecht
Fieldstone Glen residents again beseeched Invermere council for help with a new public road being created close to their neighbourhood.
This is the third time in a row that Fieldstone residents have come to council, concerned about the proximity of the new 15A Crescent, which is currently being constructed just seven feet from the back decks of several Fieldstone homes. Work on 15A Crescent and Highland Mews, the new development 15A Crescent will lead to, began earlier this fall in mid-September.
Having made their case at the Tuesday, Oct. 12 council meeting, and then sought an update from council during the Tuesday, Oct. 28 meeting, Fieldstone residents came again to the Tuesday, Nov. 8 council meeting, presenting a possible resolution to the issue by proposing an alternate option for access to Highland Mews.
Fieldstone resident Judy Smith presented to councillors at the Nov. 8 meeting, noting that it appears negotiations between the district, Highland Mews, and neighbouring Heron Point to push 15A Crescent as far to the east as possible appear to have reached an impasse, and offering instead what she termed “a quicker and less painful solution” — having an access to Highland News come off of 7th Avenue (along the stretch of 7th that leads from downtown Invermere to Kinsmen Beach).
Smith pointed out that the arguments put forth two years ago, when council decided on creating 15A Crescent rather than having access to Highland Mews off 7th, were that the 7th Avenue sidewalk would be interrupted, and that there could be increased traffic congestion on 7th on busy days at the beach. She countered both those points, noting that access to Fieldstone Glen also comes off 7th and has not created a tremendously dangerous situation and that access to Fieldstone Glen also involves sidewalk interruption. If such an arrangement works for Fieldstone Glen, surely it could also work for Highland Mews, reasoned Smith.
“The beach road could be made safer with the addition of two speed bumps – one on either side of the
Highland driveway access. Hopefully, this would slow the traffic down as they hit the corner, too. As for the congestion on the beach road, in our experience this only happens when a long train is passing over it or when the beach parking lot empties all at once – which happens only a few weekends a year during a festival and there certainly are other routes they could take,” said Smith. “The residents of 15 more units (at Highlands) accessing the road on those few weekends is inconsequential. As a matter of fact, they will probably walk to the beach, anyway.”
Smith outlined that in addition to lessening the impact to Fieldstone residents, this alternate access (off of 7th Avenue) would mean less snowplowing, fewer drainage and snowmelt concerns, less traffic on 14A Crescent (with Smith pointed out does not have a sidewalk), and fewer new streetlights needed.
“This situation has been causing us, the Fieldstone owners, major angst and valuable time spent over the past two months. We realize and appreciate that we have been verbally promised many
compensating factors, but we have nothing in writing to confirm what we’ve been offered,” said Smith. “The fact is the road remains in the same place, as far as we know.”
She requested council make a motion to rescind the road variance portion of the Highland Mews variance permit issued in 2019, and that the feasibility of access to Highland Mews off 7th Avenue be examined.
“We really need some action from council to put this right – legally and in writing. We appreciate your attention to this matter and sincerely hope it can come to a satisfactory conclusion quickly, as the building construction is progressing every day that goes by,” said Smith.
“There are points that she (Smith) has raised that I think might merit investigation. The district and administration, however, has to act cautiously on these matters, because there are some potential legal ramifications arising from the suggestions that have been made, or recommendations. But also because the (development) permits have been issued,” said Invermere chief administrative officer, Andrew Young, following Smith’s presentation.
“At this point, we’ll leave it in (district) staff’s hands,” said Invermere mayor Al Miller.