Despite some opposition, Spallumcheen council has given third reading to a proposed official community plan bylaw amendment that could increase industrial development.
The move would redesignate three properties in the township’s southeast sector – located at 29, 173 and 4305 L&A Cross Road – from agricultural to industrial.
A public hearing on the matter drew more than a dozen people to council chambers last week.
“I’m a little concerned with the amount of land that is being proposed for the industrial,” said Art Robatzek, owner of 29 L&A Cross Road. “In the past, we’ve been zoned agricultural and commercial. What I would like is the agriculture removed and that made industrial, and the rest remain as commercial.”
Support came from John Toporchak of Toporchak Farms, whose property is on L&A Cross Road.
“Let’s get this one going properly,” he said. “It would make a real nice industrial park and brighten up the municipality.”
The Ministry of Agriculture was against the proposal, as the Agricultural Land Commission, who sent a one-page letter explaining their opposition.
Two of the three parcels are in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the other was removed from the ALR in 1998.
“The Township of Spallumcheen may apply to have one or both of these two parcels excluded from the ALR for industrial development, but the commission does not encourage such an action and very possibly may refuse to approve such an application,” wrote the ALC.
The commission said it has had dealings with both of the parcels located in the ALR.
In a report to council, township planner Marnie Skobalski said while ALC approval is not explicitly required to adopting the bylaw, if it is adopted without ALC support, “its validity could be subject to a legal challenge.”
The Larkin Waterworks District also expressed concerns about the supply of water, stating “Larkin Water is not deemed to be a feasible source of water for potential industrial development.”
While passing third reading, council will now take the plan to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver later this month for discussions with the ALC.