Letter: Rural Revelstoke director opposes Catherwood annexations

Loni Parker, the director for Area B Rural Revelstoke asks residents to sign petitions opposing Catherwood Rd. property annexations.

Editor,

I have received many inquiries for information about the request from two Columbia Shuswap Regional District property owners to have their properties on Catherwood Road annexed from the CSRD into the City of Revelstoke for resort development purposes.

The request first came forward to the CSRD in February 2016 as a referral from the City of Revelstoke. We were surprised at receiving the referral as we were in discussions with the city and province following the “boutique treehouse” hotel property annexation on Camozzi Road about keeping any further piecemeal requests in abeyance until a boundary extension study was completed.

The CSRD board was informed the request for both properties on Catherwood Road wa already with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and the board agreed the process should proceed but did not state approval of the request.

The CSRD is on record stating we do not agree with piecemeal annexations and we are continuing to work with the ministry and the city to embark on a boundary extension study (now titled the South Revelstoke Diagnostic Study Project).

It was understood the two properties on Catherwood Road would be held in abeyance and the study would proceed with the province paying half the cost and the CSRD and city paying 25 per cent each. The requests for funding should be going to all three levels of government for approval shortly (at the December and January meetings) and the timeframe for the work to be done is only several months.

Based on our ongoing discussions, the CSRD was very surprised to learn the city was proceeding with the alternative approval process for these two properties.

Upon our inquiries to the city, we were informed a directive had been given to the city by the province to move these applications forward despite the process with which we are currently embarking on. This is in spite of the work that has been done to date by the staff at all levels.

I find this very disturbing and I question where the directive came from and why the owners want to push ahead so quickly especially given the position stated by the property owners they are not planning on developing the properties in the near future.

The diagnostic study will show if there is a need for annexations for further development, where they should be, and if so when that should proceed.

Many rural residents are very concerned as these annexations will set a precedent for further CSRD properties to be incorporated and that will affect rural residents as well as the whole community. There is also concern that if the annexation process is being influenced from outside of our community, then decisions about ALR lands can also be compromised.

I agree and I feel strongly the City of Revelstoke and Area B residents need to have a say about how our community develops. In Area B we have a fairly current OCP that states development, especially as it relates to the resort, should occur within the current city boundaries. The city needs to update their OCP and our joint study needs to be completed but this annexation request is imminent.

Rural residents are not able to sign the counter petition and thus have no legal say in the matter. There are petitions in the community that rural residents can sign that will let council know their sentiment but they have no legal standing as it relates to the municipal process. I encourage residents to sign the petitions as it is a way for council to gauge the sentiment outside of municipal boundaries.

I believe this is a critical decision that will be made and I urge municipal residents to speak out and give their council a hand with their decision making in regards to this request by signing the petition against annexation.

The deadline is December 16 at 4:30 pm. Petitions are at city hall, the Regent Hotel, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Malones, Last Call Liquor, and Powder Springs.

If you have any questions please call me at 250-837-5804 or email me at lparker@csrd.bc.ca.

^

Loni Parker,

Director for Area B Rural Revelstoke

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