Township passes bylaw despite road concerns

Land use designations in one-third of Spallumcheen’s southeast sector will change.

Land use designations in one-third of Spallumcheen’s southeast sector will change.

Council gave third reading and adoption to an official community plan amendment bylaw from Vernon-based Willowhaven Investments that will change 21 large holdings and commercial parcels in the south hub sector to a combination of large and small holdings, commercial and open spaces.

“It’s a pretty complicated procedure we’ve been through in the number of years we’ve been doing this,” said David Pusey of Willowhaven Investments at the outset of a 90-minute public hearing and discussion on the proposal.

“As a group, we appreciate the planners’ and council’s help.”

The hearing drew more than 30 people.

Township planner Greg Routley explained that the properties total 489 acres located east of Highway 97A, north of Regional District of North Okanagan electoral areas B and C and on Crown lands in the upper area on the east side.

He said Willowhaven Investments provided council with a comprehensive concept plan and supporting studies which addressed things like sewer and water servicing, storm water management, and traffic and aquifer impacts.

The plan also mentioned proposed transportation corridors.

“The corridors would be traversing property primarily in an east-west direction through the property going from Highway 97 upward, on lands to the south and connections to Greenhow, Ridgeview, Glenhayes, McLennan and Keddleston Roads,” said Routley.

The roads drew the vast majority of discussion at the public hearing.

Electoral Area C director Mike Macnabb said the proposal doesn’t follow the township’s policy to have all roads to subdivisions contained within Spall’s boundaries.

“The access roads will be through areas B and C,” said Macnabb.

“I take some exception to that. The residents will bear the inconvenience of further traffic on their roads with no benefit.”

Macnabb’s RDNO colleague, Area B director Bob Fleming, agreed with Macnabb. He added he drove potential access, or connecting, roads and said all had obvious hazards.

“The concern is the quality of the roads,” said Fleming.

“The grades, lack of pavement and twisting nature of the roads and not so much residential traffic that might be borne after development takes place…but all the construction.”

Former Spallumcheen councillor John Toporchak, who has lived below the southeast sector for more than 40 years, is not against the development but wants the roads built strictly in the township.

“The municipality should serve their own property,” said Toporchak. “I don’t think we should piggyback on our neighbours to the south. The traffic should come off Highway 97.”

Pat Corbett, a resident of McLennan Road, said he’s lived at his property since 1982 and has never had a problem with the roadway.

“It’s a good road, not a gold trail, and there’s been no accidents in that time,” said Corbett, who presented a 14-name petition to council supporting the Willowhaven proposal.  “It’s not an unsafe road.”

Elsie Dahlen, a resident of Greenhow Road since 1972, gave her blessing to the proposal.

“We’d like you to consider our position. Just because you’re first in the area doesn’t mean that you object to everyone else living there,” said Dahlen. “We want our young people to be able to live there and have a nice one-and-a-half acre or three-acre parcel. Why should they be denied this?”

Anita Ray, a Spallumcheen resident, said she’s looking forward to being able to raise her family on an affordable parcel of land.

“I look forward to seeing my friends and their families doing the same,” said Ray. “I think this development will allow that to happen.”

Pusey said the connecting roads would likely be used as much by residents of area B and C as they would by residents in the development.

Council gave unanimous support to third reading and adoption of the bylaw, though Coun. Christine Fraser excused herself from the entire public hearing as her family has property in the southeast sector.

“Having done this kind of stuff in the past, it’s baby steps and you have to do it the best you can and do it right,” said Coun. Ed Hanoski.

“We do need land in this area. We’ve got farmland, we’ve got valleys and we’ve got hillsides, so where are you going to put the houses? It’s going to be the hillsides. This will be a good thing in my mind.”