Riparian areas draw debate

Coldstream council has agreed that the issue deserves further discussion

Efforts to protect riparian areas have stretched too far in Coldstream, according to some upset landowners.

“In my view this is a massive land grab under the guise of looking after riparian areas,” resident Paul Nixon told council Monday.

“It’s unnecessary and overkill and it ain’t rural living at its best.”

Instead of having just the necessary 30-metres (which is provincial legislation) on either side of a creek or other riparian area identified, Coldstream’s new OCP proposes including entire blocks of property.

That means anyone with a creek or sensitive area on their property who is looking to develop has to bring their project to the district for approval first.

“It was meant primarily as a screening tool,” said Mike Reiley, Coldstream’s director of development services.

But it doesn’t make sense to resident Bob Weatherill either, who foresees efforts to build a hay shed, for example, as becoming too onerous.

“My concern is cost. Cost to the municipality and cost to the homeowner,” said Weatherill.

Nixon applauds Coldstream for its efforts to protect sensitive lands, but says this is not the way to do it.

“By all means, let’s protect vegetation and wildlife,” said Nixon.

“But that’s rural living very heavily regulated by the District of Coldstream.”

Coldstream council has agreed that the issue deserves further discussion and has held off on planned approvals for now.

A public hearing on the OCP had been planned for March 29, but that date is now tentative and future details will be provided.