Council gave thumbs up to the city’s new Garbage and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw on Tuesday.
“This is going to give some teeth to the city to go after people that are non-compliant,” said Mayor Mark McKee. “We definitely don’t want another year like we had last year with bear attractants.”
The bylaw sets out rules for how property owners must secure their animal attractants. It also gives some city officials and bylaw enforcement officers the ability to enter someone’s property to clean up attractants and foot the homeowner with the bill.
“It’s very similar to unsightly premises and the idea would be if somebody is not compliant and attracting wildlife to the area, it’s a major concern to council and the community. They would be notified its an issue,” said McKee. “They would get a warning ticket, then they would possibly get a ticket, and if it’s still not cleaned up, we could look at having someone go on and clean it.
“The idea is we want voluntary compliance and I think the vast majority of the people are on board with that.”
Vacation rentals denied
After a few months of reprieve, council was faced with three more vacation rental applications last week.
Council approved a vacation rental for 2040 Mountain Gate Road but turned down ones at 112 Fourth Street East and 1645 Mason Road.
For the Fourth Street application, neighbours wrote letters and spoke publicly against it. “This is a small family neighbourhood, with small lots and we just don’t need this,” James Walford told council. “There should be a moratorium in this area so we don’t have to keep coming back for this.”
On Mason Road, neighbours argued that there was already one vacation rental on the block, and that another shouldn’t be allowed. They also said the owners of the home were “absentee.”
“We have little reason to believe this will be properly managed given absentee ownership,” argued Steven Cross.
Parking variation approved for Mackenzie Village
Council approved a variation for Mackenzie Village, allowing the first phase to have fewer parking spaces than required by the city’s vacation rental bylaw.
The variation, which was requested by the developer David Evans, allows them to set the number of parking spots based on floor area – a system used in Whistler and Sun Peaks – instead of the number of rooms – the system used in Revelstoke.
The change means phase one will only require 56 parking spaces instead of 89, if every unit was used as a vacation rental.
“Staff consider that the development will not likely be 100 per cent vacation rental units and as such the effective variance will not be as large,” states a staff report by Nigel Whitehead, the city’s director of development services.
The report also brings up the concerns of parking spilling over onto adjacent streets. “If parking becomes an ongoing issue as part of the phase one development, city staff will ensure additional parking requirements for future phases of the Mackenzie Village development,” states the report.
The change doesn’t apply to future phases. Council supported it, with the knowledge they could deny the variance for future phases.
Parking request denied
Council denied permission for a home owner to take over four parking spaces on a city right-of-way for the use of his own property.
Nansen Webber, the owner of the home at 802 Second St. West, formally known as the Cheeky Beaver Bed & Breakfast, applied to the city to have use of four parking spaces on Pearson Street as part of his plans to re-zone the property as a vacation rental.
In a letter to council, Weber wrote the parking spaces had been traditionally been used by the residents of the home without any complaints from the neighbourhood.
“The other option for me is to remove the current fence and landscaping around the property to park cars on the lawn,” he wrote. “This would be unsightly for the town and the community and not really suitable for anyone.”
In a report to council, assistant planner Chris Selvig recommended the request be denied. He said public land should not be used for private parking, that off-street parking could be provided from the rear lane, and, most importantly, that Pearson Street, as the only street with a light on Victoria Road, will likely see increased traffic as the city develops.
“Ultimately this will result in improvements which could include curb, gutter, stormwater drainage, and paving, which would not be possible with angle parking in this location,” wrote Selvig.
Council sided with staff. “I would not be supportive of allowing you to have that off street parking in that boulevard without allowing your neighbour down the block to do the same thing,” said councillor Gary Sulz.