Water debate on tap in Spall

Township council considers a proposal for Chickadee Ridge Development

While admitting they are “sort of” in the water business, the Township of Spallumcheen is hesitant to create and add a municipal version of a water district.

A subdivision application for Chickadee Ridge Development asks that the water system proposed for the property “be processed and included under the operating permit of the Township of Spallumcheen.”

“The system would be designed and constructed by the applicant (Lorne Major) to the standards required by the township and Interior Health,” wrote Brian Monaghan of Monaghan Engineering and Consulting Ltd. who is the project manager.

“Upon completion, commissioning and acceptance of the system by the township, the water system would then be turned over to the township.”

The application was originally made to the council of the day in 2009, which included a public hearing and third reading of official community plan and zoning amendment bylaws.

The proposed subdivision is within the non-Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) portion of the property currently zoned agricultural and, as was mentioned at a lengthy public hearing on the application, would be serviced by a private community sewer and water system.

Major proposed to develop 22 lots that would be zoned residential single family, two lots that would be zoned small holdings and two lots that would be zoned country residential. It also called for dedicated parkland on the west side of Alderson Creek.

The application has since changed to develop 25 lots, 22 of which would be residential single family and three would be country residential.

Concern was expressed by many residents at the 2009 public hearing about water to service the proposed subdivision.

There were also many letters of support for the plan.

The bylaw was never fully adopted as conditions for the subdivision were not met.

Monaghan stated a report prepared by Kala Geosciences Ltd. supports the application, and concludes there is adequate water supply, consistent with the township’s subdivision bylaw, for the proposed development.

Spallumcheen administrator Greg Betts told council the township has 14 water districts they are currently trying to consolidate, assist or reduce.

If council agreed to Monaghan’s request, the township would be setting up a municipal version of a water district with the township requested to take it over.

“We are in the water business, sort of, but if we’re adding to it we’re going to have to have capacity in terms of staff and expertise,” said Betts, who asked council for, and was granted, a chance to review the request and lay out several options for council.

“This is one of the complexities of this patchwork quilt of water districts that are inhibiting or making far more complex your management of growth and development,” he said.