By Dean Midyette
Special to the Pioneer
After almost a year of committee work and public consultation, Bylaw 214 pertaining to the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Bylaw 215 dealing with the proposed rezoning of certain parcels of land in conjunction with the new OCP made it to public hearing. Those in attendance at the public hearing, held Tuesday, June 4th, included the Canal Flats council and village staff, planning consultant Jonathan Schmidt of B&A Planning Group and approximately 12 members of the public.
The first member of the public to offer comment was Tracey Flynn, a representative of the Columbia Valley Stewardship Society. Ms. Flynn expressed that overall she was pleased with the OCP and thanked council for being receptive to the ideas expressed by the Society and including them in the document. Ms. Flynn stated on behalf of the Society that they looked forward to future collaboration with the Village.
Canal Flats residents Colleen Woods and Cory Kobza expressed concerns regarding the inclusion of proposed roadways on their properties and were assured by Chief Administrative Officer Adrian Bergles and planner Jonathan Schmidt that the roadways were noted in the event that the properties were subdivided or developed at a future date and that negotiations around road access would need to be taken up with the council of the day as part of a subdivision or master plan application.
The council also fielded a question regarding future development of seniors’ housing. Under the new expanded R-1 zoning, a seniors’ housing complex could be constructed within the R-1 zone without a need for a rezoning application.
Concerns were expressed by Kobza family members regarding the rezoning of the golf course lands that their family owns. Bylaw 2015 proposes that the golf course lands be upgraded to an R-1 zoning from a recreational zoning. Both Cory and Anora Kobza stated their concern that they were being told what to do with their private land by the village council and that, in the future, they could be barred by the council of the day from using part or all of their land for recreational purposes. Mr. Bergles and Mr. Schmidt explained that it is usually easier to downgrade zoning than to upgrade it and that if the property remained zoned for recreational use then any portions of the land that the family may wish to develop would have to go through a rezoning process to upgrade it to R-1.
At this point the Kobza family have no concrete plans for how their land will be used.
Third and final readings of Bylaws 214 and 215 were scheduled to be held during the regular council meeting on Monday, June 10th at the municipal office.