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Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.

Letter: Hay Rd. development doesn’t consider current residents

Hello neighbours, I’m writing in regards to the Hay Road development proposal.

First, let me say that this is very much a first world issue, given the current health challenge and the state of unrest in the world.

That said, the city and developer of the proposed Hay Road project have chosen this time to advance their proposal.

If there ever was a time to have your voice heard on this issue, both positive and negative, now is the time.

There are many potentially very good aspects to this proposal: green construction, addressing a need for more housing, increased tax revenue, densification (if it’s in the appropriate setting).

I just have a few questions.

The proposal calls for 60 new units, on top of the 162 existing homes that are all accessed by only Hay Road.

However, in the city’s presentation, they state that “a traffic impact assessment was completed by the developer and it was found that there will be no net change to traffic.”

I am unclear on how the addition of 60 homes and the associated vehicle traffic does not constitute a net change to traffic?

There will be a sidewalk built along Hay Road from the development to Nichol Road.

Why is the city is not committing to extending the sidewalk down Nichol Road?

What is the long term plan for parks and trails in this neighbourhood?

Most other neighbourhoods in Revelstoke contain sanctioned parks and/or trails, but not Upper Arrow Heights.

The developer has stated that the plan is to build “passive housing” in a “high performance neighbourhood.”

While this is a laudable concept, I don’t believe that this is in line with “more affordable options” that the developer also states on his website, stokedliving.ca.

The reality is there is a true need for affordable housing in this city, but this style of building is very expensive.

I believe the developer intends to fully fabricate these high-end modular homes off site, in another community, so there will be very limited local employment.

We know almost nothing about what will actually be built.

“Two and a half storeys” is the only thing stated.

What size of footprint and square footage?

What passive concepts are to be incorporated?

What are the estimated selling price-points?

What is noticeably missing from the city’s presentation on the project are the parts of the Official Community Plan pertaining to quality of life for existing residents.

Many residents chose to live in this neighbourhood because it is relatively quiet and surrounded by greenspace.

As McKenzie Village grows, it will literally be in our collective backyard.

There are 800 units planned in it and this will have a huge impact on the neighbourhood.

This is very substantial, we are already doing more than our part, don’t saddle us with more density.

Especially as other development projects on Oscar Street, Columbia Gardens and Rivers Edge apartments, the old Mt Begbie school site, RMR housing and the large development across from the hospital are moving forward.

To build a dense community makes a lot of sense when amenities like transportation, food shopping, restaurants, entertainment, professional services and other shops are close at hand, and when it fits into the surrounding community framework.

This is just not the case in Upper Arrow Heights.

The proposed development, along with the 25 empty lots in the neighbourhood that are yet to be built upon, would put even further strain on the local environment and the only access road, which was not designed to handle this traffic volume.

Many people have said this proposal should be supported, partly out of concern that if it isn’t approved, another one will be brought forward that isn’t as good.

I don’t believe this is the case, as the city should be able to stipulate how the development is designed.

If there is a dedicated trail built from the neighbourhood, through McKenzie Village to the school, not along the busy roads, to encourage walking and keep kids safe, and the project sees a material reduction in the number of homes, then I can see endorsing it.

Without substantial changes to the development plan, then I would at least advocate for waiting to sanction this project until affects of the massive McKenzie Village project are better understood and until there is a comprehensive infrastructure plan for city development, including traffic, roads, trails, parks, water and sewer needs.

While there has been some relatively minor compromise on this project thus far, there needs to be substantially more before it gets sanctioned.

I will be sharing my concerns with the city through the online survey and by emailing to building@revelstoke.ca and council@revelstoke.ca.

I encourage everyone to do the same with your feedback, both positive or negative.

Chris Thorson

Upper Arrow Heights resident

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