The City of Armstrong maintains it did things by the book to legally rezone and change the official community plan designation for properties at the back of Memorial Park for a proposed affordable housing development. (Morning Star file photo)

The City of Armstrong maintains it did things by the book to legally rezone and change the official community plan designation for properties at the back of Memorial Park for a proposed affordable housing development. (Morning Star file photo)

Affordable housing parkland rezoning done legally: City of Armstrong

CAO says city followed things by the book in regards to parkland property

Armstrong’s chief administrative officer maintains the city complied with the statutory requirements to legally rezone a property behind Memorial Park to make way for a proposed affordable housing development after being legally challenged by a local greenspace group.

Kevin Bertles said in a two-page release the city “will continue to comply with all legal requirements related to the proposed development of the properties going forward.”

“The City of Armstrong is aware that concerns have been raised in the community regarding whether the city has met its legislative obligations in the rezoning and redesignation of property behind the Nor-Val Arena for an affordable housing project,” said Bertles in regards to the city redesignating a 0.85-hectare portion of the property from park to multiple-unit residential.

Two lots on the property were rezoned from park and open space to the new multiple-unit residential zone.

Concern has been raised by the Armstrong Greenspace Society and city Coun. Jim Wright over the city’s handling of the situation. Wright is the only member of council opposed to the redesignation.

Wright said the need for affordable housing isn’t being questioned, but he’s opposed to the parkland location for development when he says there are other city locations available.

“The process of not holding a referendum question is being challenged,” said Wright. “Case law seems to support a referendum question and not removing parkland.”

Bertles said some members of the public mistakenly assume the redesignation of the property “seeks to take land that was, and is, parkland that was dedicated by bylaw,” and that the Community Charter governs changing parkland dedicated by bylaw and would require electoral approval.

Neither lot in question, said Bertles, are or were reserved or dedicated by bylaw as contemplated by Section 30 of the Community Charter.

“The city’s records indicate that the properties were acquired in 1964 as part of the lands assembled for the city’s sewer treatment plant,” said Bertles. “There is no indication that the city obtained the properties with the intention of using them as park or has developed or maintained the properties as park.”

Bertles also said there is no case law where a court has held that Section 30 applies as a result of the zoning or OCP designation for a property, or that the use or transfer of property is otherwise restricted in the manner some members of the public suggest, solely as a result of the property being zoned or designated for park purposes.

“It is our opinion that for section 30 to apply, council must have adopted a bylaw that explicitly dedicated or reserved the properties for park purposes,” he said. “There is no indication that this was done.”

The city received a legal challenge brought forward by Lindsay Thachuk and the Armstrong Greenspace Society, questioning the legality of the rezoning and redesignation of the properties for the purpose of providing affordable housing.

“The city sought legal advice on behalf of our residents and is assured, by our lawyers, that the city acted in accordance to the legislation as set out in the Community Charter,” said Bertles, adding “the city is pleased to be able to meet the affordable housing needs as identified in the recently adopted Housing Needs Assessment, and to bring the long-term strategic goals of council one step closer to fruition.”

The next steps, he said, include seeking a funding partner to supply affordable housing units in a grant rich environment, meaning that taxpayers will not be responsible for the capital costs of supplying this need for residents of Armstrong.

READ MORE: Armstrong mayor explains site selection for affordable housing project

READ MORE: Armstrong paves way for potential affordable housing project



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housingMunicipal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Firefighters battled a burning home on farmland in the north end of Vernon Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Homeowner taken to hospital after Vernon home destroyed by fire

Firefighters engaged in a lengthy battle against the engulfed structure Saturday afternoon

The Regional District of North Okanagan has purchased a watercraft to be used by the BC Conservation Officer Service, who will conduct enhanced boat patrols on the Shuswap River during the 2021 floating season. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Boat purchased to provide enhanced Shuswap River oversight this floating season

The regional district purchased an extra watercraft to be used by Conservation Officers this year

The West Kelowna Warriors beat the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in BCHL action Friday, April 16, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
West Kelowna goaltender stymies Vernon Vipers for 3-2 win

The Warriors were outshot 44-23 Friday night, but it didn’t bother Johnny Derrick

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Nick Clements captured a photo of the Northern Lights over Oyama Friday night, April 16, 2021. (Nick Clements photo)
PHOTOS: Northern Lights colour Okanagan night

Residents saw the dazzling green aurora borealis throughout the valley Friday night

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read