Expect 'significant' changes coming to Area E OCP plan
By Suzy Hamilton, The Nelson Daily
Significant changes will be made to the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Official Community Plan for Area E said the RDCK’s senior planner Meeri Durand.
As a result of a public meeting October 24 and written submissions, |“the plan is under revisions and significant changes will be made,” said Durand. “The revisions will be available some time next week.”
Area E is comprised of Blewett, Mountain Station, Silver King Road, Harrop, Procter, Queens Bay and Balfour. It is the only area without some form of official plan in the RDCK area.
The plan has drawn some controversy and criticism since the inception of the idea in 2010. However, a survey sent to Area E residents in April 2010 had a 40 per cent response return rate and indicated that the majority of Area E residents (81 per cent) thought that growth and development should be managed in Area E.
A large number of people felt ready to support a community plan (43 per cent) while others felt they needed more information (37 per cent) while 19 per cent said no to planning.
“This is a policy document,” said Durand, “It is intended to be a document on what the community wants, not a regulating document.”
However, there are three categories in which a permit will be required: Environmentally Sensitive Development, Residential Cluster Development and Area Industrial, Commercial and Special Development.
“The revised document reflects the needs of recreation and industrial use,” said Durand.
Area E director Ramona Faust has said that she is not interested in taking the next step of zoning after the OCP is in place.
“I am not interested in zoning whatsoever,” Faust said during a October 24 public meeting.
“I have lived here for 38 years without it as well.”
The October 24 meeting drew more residents opposed than in favour of the plan.
Faust told the meeting that the community is vulnerable without a plan.
“What happens when provincial agencies get applications for an issue, they look to see what the Official Community Plan says for that area,” she said.
“When there is nothing, they do what they want rather than what the community wants.
“With this whole thing of we want to be left alone, I think the general consensus is that we want to take care of our community and I see the OCP as a program, as a policy, a plan to take of our community,” Faust added.
Durand said one of the most controversial issues involved water development permits. As a result, “building setbacks will be set at 15 metres.”
The plan originally called for a setback of 30 metres.
Blewett residents have been the most vocal in opposition. Faust has made a commitment to give Blewett residents a voice, says Durand, “but what form that will take I don’t know.” Faust is expected to be back at her post next week.
After the document is revised, another public hearing will be required says Durand. That date has not been set yet.
“The project is tabled until the director determines how she wants to move forward.”
To view the complete document, go to www.rdck.bc.ca, Area E land use planning.