By Steve Hubrecht

Pioneer Staff

A zoning bylaw that allows the proposed abattoir at the Invermere crossroads to officially go ahead was formally adopted at the Regional District of the East Kootenay Board of Directors monthly meeting on Friday, June 7th. The bylaw contains a number of restrictions as to the exact size and location of the abattoir in order to address concerns that arose during the April 24th public hearing at the Windermere Community Hall. Although some were opposed at the boards May 3rd meeting when the bylaw was discussed, the majority of board directors said they thought the abattoir would be good for the Columbia Valley.

The RDEK board also gave first and second reading to two bylaws relating to Lot 48. Lot 48 is an ecologically important tract of land along the eastern side of Columbia Lake owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The bylaws essentially officially recognize Lot 48 as a conservation property and, if they are adopted, will help preserve the areas cultural, environmental and recreational attributes.

These two bylaws replace the previous bylaws that the regional district had pending on Lot 48, said regional district planning and development services manager Andrew McLeod. The regional district is taking steps to rezone the property as parks and open space.

After almost 10 years of discussion and, at times, controversy over the future of Lot 48, the Nature Conservancy purchased the parcel of land last summer. It had previously been owned by Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Its kind of putting the whole issue to bed, said Mr. McLeod, speaking about the new bylaws.

There will be a public hearing on the bylaws on June 27th at 7 p.m. at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The bylaws deal only with zoning of the land and have nothing to do with hikers and mountain bikers walking or riding on the lot.

Although these bylaws do control the use of land, it is private land, so controlling access is really a land owner concern. The zoning bylaw doesnt address those issues, said Mr. McLeod.

At their Friday, May 3rd meeting, the RDEK directors rescinded the previous pending bylaws, which had been on the books since 2005 and would have downzoned Lot 48 from resort use to agricultural use, allowing for a new direction for the lot in terms of land use.