The public will have its chance to speak on a contentious redesignation application of the Royal York Golf Course property during a public hearing on the application Monday, Sept. 27 in Armstrong.
During a pandemic.
Neither of which sit well with Coun. Jim Wright.
In an open letter to council, which was sent by Wright to the Morning Star, he said holding a public hearing between second and third reading of the redesignation bylaw proposal “in the presence of the COVID fourth wave is unacceptable.”
“This is a major and controversial development proposal for a small city,” said Wright. “If approved, Armstrong taxpayers will lose financially. Our budget-scheduled infrastructure upgrades are not completed, and we will lose much-needed recreational property.”
Proponents of the plan, including members of the York family, who have owned and operated the property since its inception, are looking to change the official community land use designation of the property from multiple-unit residential (low density) to park, change the land use designation of 10 hectares of the property from commercial recreation to single/two unit residential, and change a one-hectare portion from commercial recreation to park.
If successful, the applicants plan on adding housing around the property, and reducing the size of, but keeping, the nine-hole golf course.
Among others, Wright has been opposed to the application since Day 1.
“At the very least, this council should defer this rezoning application, OCP amendment, and proposed MDA (Master Development Agreement) with the developer, until after the scheduled city election next year when COVID should be contained, and a referendum could be held,” said Wright. “We have already been given legal notice to “act accordingly” by the Greenspace Society, so hopefully the city would not have to be burdened with the cost of a public inquiry or rescinding of the rezoning?”
In its agenda package as of Friday, Sept. 24, council had received a handful of letters against the application, including a two-page letter from Lindsay Thachuk, president of the Armstrong Green Space Society, also opposing the plan as he and his group have since the beginning.
The public hearing on the matter will be held during the regular meeting of council, which starts at 5 p.m.