Old bones over a decade-old land swap in Coldstream are being dug up with a new development.
Back in 1999, approximately 35 acres in the Sarsons/Aberdeen/Middleton Drive neighbourhood were removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (as part of a larger, 321 acre, land exclusion).
To offset that loss of agricultural land, approximately 1,430 acres were added to the ALR.
That included Coldstream Creek Road resident Pat White’s lot.
“Needless to say I feel that a great injustice was done not only to myself but all the landowners,” said White of the swap that forced so many into the ALR, whether they wanted it or not.
Although his own land was not affected, long-time Coldstream resident Ken Caverly recalls the situation well and agrees: “It was a very off-sided, unfair situation. They were justifying acreage for acreage.”
The 13-year-old controversial land swap was revisited Monday by Coldstream councillors.
The issue arose from a proposed five-lot subdivision at 11200 Palfrey Drive West, which is adjacent to one of the properties (and lands beyond) that was put into the ALR in 1999.
One of the subjects of the development is to extend Palfrey Drive East to the ALR boundary, so that one day Coldstream can extend access through the lands beyond.
Although the road likely wouldn’t evolve for many years, the situation has left Coldstream wondering if it is even possible – since land would have to be taken back out of the ALR in order for the road to proceed beyond the subdivision.
“If this is going to be removed from the land reserve, the other ones (those excluded from the ALR in 1999) are not going to be able to be put back in,” said Coun. Gyula Kiss. “It’s going to be a loss of land.”
But the point that several politicians and landowners are making is that this land should have never been forced into the ALR to begin with.
“The land will never be used for farm, it’s too steep,” said Dave Pearce, whose property is directly east of the proposed subdivision and although there will be impacts from the development he agrees with Coldstream politicians that a road is required for the future.
“I’m not in favour of releasing lands from the ALR but those lands probably shouldn’t have been in the ALR in the first place,” said Coun. Maria Besso.
Coun. Doug Dirk adds: “This does not fit the classic ALR circumstance.”