Gerry Popoff has two reasons for wanting to subdivide his Spallumcheen property with two neighbouring premises.
One is to provide a safe access road out of McLeod Subdivision onto Highway 97A. The other is because the township’s old and current official community plans call for such a road.
Popoff and partners Barrie Seed and Charles Whitaker have submitted an application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for approval to subdivide their three bordering properties on Whitaker Road which are in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) into a 14-lot subdivision, though Popoff states it would only really be 11 as the applicants’ properties are part of the proposal.
The lots would be 2.5 acres in size.
The trio says the application is to allow a road network out of the subdivision that provides a viable alternative route to Highway 97A,
It includes a proposed public road through the subdivision that would link Lockhart Crescent to Reservoir Road, Reservoir to Powerhouse Road and then out to the highway.
“It’s to do with safety, it’s the No.1 thing,” said Popoff, 62, from his Whitaker Road property he’s owned for nearly 25 years which houses auto repair, body shop and auto recycling businesses.
“If it saves one life, it’s been a success.”
What Popoff visualizes is a road off Lockhart Crescent that goes straight through a flat section of property, across Fortune Creek and through to Reservoir Road, and from Reservoir down to Powerhouse Road. Some trees would have to come out, and a span built over the creek.
The land is zoned agricultural, and the application is not to remove the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve. Popoff said the land is rocky.
Safety has been a concern for McLeod Subdivision residents who now have two ways out onto the highway: down Creamery Road to McLeod Road, and those who may want to head north can also travel west on McLeod to Heighton Road, then to Mountain View Road and down to Highway 97A.
More than 800 people signed a petition calling for a traffic signal to be installed on the highway at McLeod Road. The Ministry of Transportation responded with a $150,000 flashing amber light.
A public meeting on the access road proposal was held in November 2010 that drew 80 people, and of which 63 people filled out a questionnaire.
According to Popoff’s statistics, 62 of 63 people were concerned with the safety level at Highway 97A and McLeod Road; 62 people did not think the flashing amber light was adequate; 49 of 63 were in favour of another exit out of the subdivision, and 43 said they would like another road network into Armstrong via Whitaker Road and East Rosedale Avenue.
The proposal by Popoff, Seed and Whitaker has not come without resistance – at least five residents have voiced vehement opposition to the proposal to Spallumcheen council – and Popoff is aware that the plan would mean more traffic on Reservoir and Powerhouse Roads.
“I can see the concern about the traffic, I can understand that,” said Popoff. “But where do you weigh it? Safety, car by your house? Safety, car by your house?”
Spallumcheen council received a letter from residents reporting minutes of a Jan. 7, 2012 meeting on the plan which drew 38 people. The chairperson of the meeting described it as “an information and learning opportunity for us.”
Popoff and Seed explained the plan to the residents.
Spallumcheen council unanimously supported the application to the ALC, but state no official application for such a plan from the property owners has come before council. If the plan proceeds, there will be more opportunity for input.