City questioned on potential sale of waterfront Crown land
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
The City’s right to sell off a piece of Crown land to a private developer was debated briefly Thursday night at the workshop on the waterfront and downtown master plan.
The question was raised during the consultant’s presentation at the Prestige Lakeside Resort during the waterfront and downtown master plan workshop, to gather public input on the initial stages of the draft writing for the plans.
One of the workshop attendees, Donovan Carter, said there was a piece of prime waterfront Crown land in the Nelson Landing development that has been proposed for private, residential land development.
“Was there any discussion with the group here today … of selling off prime waterfront Crown land to a developer when there is a declared shortage of green and recreational space, especially on the waterfront here in Nelson?” he asked.
The consultant hired by the City for the project, IBI Group, had their associate director Stuart Jones field the question. He said he did not task any of the stakeholders in the working groups — that met earlier on Thursday— with the idea of addressing rezoning on Red Sands.
Carter said he was not concerned about Red Sands, but more about the principle of the sell off of prime, waterfront Crown land to a private developer.
City manager Kevin Cormack jumped in quickly at that point of the workshop, saying the City had hired the consultant to work on a downtown and waterfront master plan, not the rezoning application.
“That decision on Crown land will be made by the Province,” he said. “As part of the zoning application, the developer has to bring his application forward and go through the regular process … and a whole public hearing process.”
In the ideal world, the City would have had all of this planning done years ago and had a concrete plan to work on, he said.
Carter said he had asked the consultant if there was any discussion on the selling of Crown land.
“You don’t have to defend the consultant, it was a very gentle question,” he said. “And the answer could be very neutral. Was there any discussion?”
“Was there discussion on whether to sell Crown land? No, there wasn’t,” said Cormack.
He added that it was not the City’s decision to sell off the Crown land.
“Well, obviously not,” said Carter. “But you could make a recommendation in council (to the Province).”
Carter suggested the City’s MLA Michelle Mungall could show up at one of the scheduled public meetings and make a “principled stand against the sell off of Crown land to private developers.”
“You have the right to bring that up at any of the public meetings,” said Cormack. “But that wasn’t the purpose of this process.”
This Saturday afternoon (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Prestige Lakeside Resort), the developer of Nelson Landing — which includes Red Sands Beach — will hold a public meeting on the development for the city’s East end waterfront.
Nelson Landing is proposed as a 193-unit housing development containing a hotel (110 units), small conference centre and 26 commercial units on a 12.5-acre parcel of land.
There would also be a marina included in the scope of the project, as well as public amenities such as a public waterfront walkway and public access to Red Sands Beach.