The year-long debate over protecting residents’ views in Coldstream has reached a stalemate.
Karen Stothers Dawson first came to Coldstream with concerns in 2011 over existing homes renovating and blocking their neighbour’s lake views – the issue stems from an incident that took place four years ago.
During the past year she has returned with a petition, routinely attended council meetings and attracted the attention of others, who have also written letters and made presentations. Collectively, they hoped to protect their lake views by blocking builders from going to extreme heights.
In one of her initial presentations to council, Stothers Dawson, a Sunflower Place resident, said: “We were not aware of this possibility when we purchased our property about a year ago.”
She suggested Coldstream limit the height of additions to .5 metres above a home’s current height. Currently, homes on a slope of five per cent or more are limited to 11 metres – from the lowest to highest point.
Coldstream staff, and council, have debated and researched the issue for the past year now.
But after examining possible options, including bylaws adopted by other communities, Coldstream decided Monday to stick with its existing regulations.
“There are all sorts of ways to do it, ultimately it comes down to whether the municipality wants to regulate viewscapes,” said Michael Reiley, Coldstream’s director of development services.
“We believe that advice to council is in the best interest of the community,” said Michael Stamhuis, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer. “You (council) have every right to totally ignore staff’s recommendation.”
Coun. Maria Besso isn’t satisfied with the decision.
“We are elected to listen to the people and this is obviously an area of concern to the residents,” she said. “When they come into an area they assume there would be some sort of protection given to them and in this case there isn’t.
“I’m very frustrated with our staff.”
While Coldstream staff and politicians have exhausted their search for a solution, it was pointed out that the public can still come forward with suggestions.
“If a neighbourhood came forward and requested a neighbourhood plan then council would consider it,” said Coun. Doug Dirk.