Letter: More public consultation needed before zoning amendment to allow Hay Rd. development

Letter: More public consultation needed before zoning amendment to allow Hay Rd. development

The Hay Rd. development is on the agenda for the July 28 Revelstoke City Council meeting

Dear Editor,

I am against city council approving the proposed bylaw changes 2265 and 2266 for several reasons, but first I must tell you, that frankly I am disappointed and dismayed that you would think that approving these amendments without meaningful public consultation, is the right thing to do.

READ MORE: City wants feedback on Hay Rd. development

READ MORE: Revelstoke developer asking for community feedback for Hay Rd. proposal

You are disrespecting not only the residents of this neighbourhood by not engaging them in honest open dialogue, but you are ignoring due process, which is incredibly flawed from mine and others perspectives. With COVID and all the restrictions, I respectfully ask that these amendments not be passed until the public can be a meaningful voice.

I ask, that you shift your focus back to serving the community as a whole and not individuals.

READ MORE: City Council approves new vision statement for Official Community Plan

I have personally canvassed the neighbourhood and discussed the development proposal with some 56 residents (I am submitting this petition in person at City Hall today). Except for two individuals, everyone expressed dismay and disbelief at a process which does not effectively consult with the residents who will be most affected, in many cases negatively.

Time and again I was met with the comment, ‘I gave my input on Mackenzie Village proposal but was not listened to or even acknowledged’. As a former professional within the Ministry of Forests here in Revelstoke, I have been involved with the operation of public involvement programs. While we were challenged continually by time and resources, we went back and forth with ‘publics’ at times for months and months looking for common ground. I ask you to go back to the drawing board and get this proposal right. Seek common ground.

I oppose the bylaw amendments because, densification here is not required, it is not wanted by the neighbourhood, and it is in the wrong place. This is a semi-rural area of Revelstoke, and we would like the neighbourhood to reflect that vision! R1 is fine, but even the current minimum lot sizes are at a stark difference to existing homes.

There should be compromise here as well.

READ MORE: LETTER: Densification is right, if well thought out

When I moved into the neighbourhood several years ago, I was told that there would be homes constructed adjacent my property. I accepted that. I envisioned homes, possibly on similar or slightly smaller lots, aligned such that it would be integrated with the existing neighbourhood, and facilitated with adequate snow removal and parking for residential use. I envisioned a development that would also bring a solution to the ‘one way in, one way out’ access on Hay Road without further aggravating traffic and pedestrian safety issues.

The development proposal features nearly three times the density of current housing.

Densification is for areas close to amenities, like the old Mt. Begbie School site; there are no amenities in Arrow Heights. Let’s wait for a few years and see how the Mackenzie Village development handles these and other density issues. Where are they? How does the narrow bridge across the river remain adequate as the City “allows” the population to shift up into this area?

How is it, that the Official Community Plan bends and sways to a developer’s whim, all to the exclusion of the residents already living there. Where did the public input come from to support that approach? The city cannot have an OCP that is essentially being ignored in favour of development proposals.

Please defer, please do this right way. I personally believe that city council and staff can do much better than that. What are you doing about an integrated and comprehensive trail network on this side of the river that appears to be totally absent not only in the development proposal but also in any acknowledgement to your communications so far?

The roads are too narrow in this neighbourhood to accommodate increased traffic. Yet, your study says there is no net increase to. That study is not credible. Further studies must be carried out by the city, and not by the developer. Nichol Road traffic that peaks at certain times of day with resort related transport. The current assessment is woefully inadequate, which was the sentiment expressed by many of the residents I spoke to.

A proposed sidewalk on Nichol Road is “great” but how is this sensible? I liken that to sending pedestrians along Macleod trail in Calgary, or at the very least highway 23S. Let’s build those pathways safely through neighbourhoods, via an interconnected trail system that is maintained in the winter!

I know this is something that Arrow Heights residents have asked for, indeed longed for since the City began consultations with citizens. Nothing has changed! I have lived here in Arrow heights for over 34 years!

The city’s vision statement acknowledges the surrounding “liveability and sustainability” of new residential developments. I would ask you to tell me what that means to you.

I can tell you what that means to me. It means having the full opportunity to be consulted and offer my input which is acknowledged and listened to for any development that might take place adjacent or near my place of work, residence or location of concern in the community. It means respecting the residents where they live, work and play. It means integrating new developments into existing areas in a thoughtful and visionary way. It means using your community plan. It means some compromise at the end of the day and maybe not agreeing to agree on everything, and ensuring that the fundamentals are worked out.

We the residents of Arrow Heights have not had this opportunity for meaningful two way communication to meet your ‘liveability and sustainability’ terms espoused in various documents. We didn’t even receive feedback from a recent survey you sent out!

Councillors, I respectfully request that you vote against passing these bylaw amendments. I ask if this is not possible, that you then defer these decisions until after the COVID restrictions are lifted. Residents want to voice their opinions, concerns and also suggestions.

Please follow your own process.

Maintain the R1 zoning, deal with the other issues first.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Lavelle


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