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   Volume 81 - Issue 21 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“If a fire of the magnitude of the Lost Creek fire of 2003 were to happen now, it would be hard to bring resources to it.”
- Tully Clifford  
   
   

 


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A request from Green Mountain Company to rezone a section of land in West Coleman from non-urban area to multiple residential (R-2A) zoning for the purpose of development has sparked much controversy among area residents, and discussion among Council.
Local realtor Lowry Toombs and Green Mountain submitted the application for rezoning last month and notified adjoining property owners of their intention to use the area to develop a multi-family housing complex, pending approval from Council.
Council passed first reading of the Land Use Bylaw amendment, and the application was then reviewed by the Subdivision and Development Authority, which passed a motion recommending that Council proceed with the request.
During the Council meeting on Tuesday, May 17th, a public hearing on the issue was held, allowing members of the public to offer input on the matter.
Toombs started things off by providing further information to Council regarding what Green Mountain plans to do with the land, which is located between Hwy 3 and 19th Avenue in West Coleman.
He said Green Mountain wants to provide affordable housing, in the form of multiple four-plexes, in order to attract people in entry level positions with the mines, RCMP, SRD and other agencies.
Toombs said development in this area (as well as other pockets of vacant land within the municipality) would decrease the need for further costly expansion of infrastructure such as roads and water and sewer lines, while increasing the density of development already existing on the valley floor.
He also noted that the development of a new multi-family complexes would allow for an increase in property value of surrounding properties, in turn benefiting the entire neighbourhood.
Randy Tucker spoke on behalf of the West Coleman Community Association during the public hearing, and informed Council that several area residents have concerns about development in the area and the affect it could have on wildlife corridors, views, and other issues.
 
Council also received a letter from West Coleman residents Kevin and Catherine Ward, who live directly across from the proposed development site.
In their letter, the Wards voiced concern that the development will impact wildlife which use the area every day, that it lies in an area prone to wildlife/vehicle collisions, that the physical and geological makeup of the hillside is unsuitable for development, and that there are currently structures on the land which may deserve historical resource designation.
“It is understandable that the new municipal government intends to be more progressive than the previous council; however, forging ahead without due diligence is sure to result in undesirable consequences,” the Wards wrote in their letter. “Costs to rectify unforeseen issues, danger to local wildlife, residents and property, destruction of a historical area and alienation of the very citizens you are meant to represent… are but a few concerns that must be addressed.”
Councillor Siegbert Gail asked if any assessment had been done in the area regarding possible coal deposits.
A representative of Green Mountain informed Council that they had completed a Phase One and Phase Two environmental assessment, and that they were more concerned about possible petroleum in the soil, which will be looked into further prior to excavation.
Director of Public Services Myron Thompson informed Council that further issues such as wildlife mitigation fencing and details pertaining to the actual development can be addressed in the development agreement.
Council passed second reading of the bylaw in a 4-3 vote, with Councillors Emile Saindon, Larry Mitchell and Andrew Saje opposed.
Councillor Mitchell suggested that Council not pass third reading until further consideration can be taken.
“I don’t see how we can have third reading if we haven’t reviewed all of the information,” said Councillor Mitchell, who moved to table third reading to the next Council meeting.
The motion was approved unanimously.
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