Protecting a pond at the south end of the community brought considerable discussion before Council determined Monday afternoon to move forward a zoning request that would provide for an adjacent housing subdivision.
The owner of the Lobelia Drive property — currently zoned R1 (Single Family Residential) —wants to subdivide the property into smaller parcels to allow townhouses on smaller lots.
But at a recent public hearing, concerns were raised about various aspects of the proposal, including protection of the pond.
“The applicant addressed these concerns by stating that the recommendations of the environmental impact assessment will ensure protection of the pond, and that each parcel will have two parking spaces, as required by the Zoning Bylaw,” Senior Planner Don McArthur told Council.
He added the pond concern was being addressed with a required no-disturb buffer zone with a physical separation between the subdivision and the covenant area, such as a fence.
Council was told the buffer zone would become public property, but several Council members wondered how — and if — local residents and visitors would access the pond.
“Just to provide clarity . . . the report actually specifically identifies that public access should not be improved into that area because of those environmental values,” replied Planning and Development Services Director Gina MacKay.
“You don’t really want people walking through it,” added Coun. Jim King.
Staff recommended the rezoning, noting there is already an R2 development immediately south of the subject property; the development would also provide additional housing options for residents.
Should the amending Bylaw receive third reading, it would be placed on hold until a subdivision plan is received and reviewed by the approving officer. A final approval from the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is also required.
The Lobelia Drive property had previously been used for agricultural purposes. Much of the native vegetation on a large portion of the property has been removed or disturbed, “with the exceptions of Sonora Pond and some areas of the banks around the pond.”
An application to remove the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was made by the applicant in 2018 and Council subsequently resolved to support the application. The subject property was released from the ALR by the Agricultural Land Commission last October.