A controversy over the zoning of the Marysville bench lands is playing out ahead of changes to the Official Community Plan for Kimberley — expected some time next year.
The issue is scheduled to come up at Kimberley Council tonight, Monday, October 23, at the regular Council meeting at 7 p.m., as Mayor Don McCormick has requested a Notice of Motion around the Benchlands.
The motion Council will vote on reads:
WHEREAS new revenue is a strategic priority of City Council;
AND WHEREAS industrial taxes are needed to take the upward pressure off the residential and business tax bases as infrastructure renewal and demand for City services grows;
AND WHEREAS Kimberley’s growing population needs jobs to attract and retain them here;
AND WHEREAS appropriately zoned land is needed to attract businesses who will provide the new tax money and jobs;
AND WHEREAS the City of Kimberley has an abundance of recreational and residential lands;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City-owned property known as the Marysville bench lands be designated for Industrial development in the draft OCP to be consistent with its current Industrial zoning.
A business, Sullivan Machine Works presented to Council earlier this month, indicating they would be interested in locating their machining business on the bench lands property.
Coun. Bev Middlebrook has been leading the charge against such zoning, arguing for the land to not be developed but left as a recreational area that Marysville residents and others have been enjoying for years.
The history of the zoning on these particular lands is a bit confusing.
Troy Pollock, the City’s Manager of Planning Services, provided a timeline.
“The current zoning of the Benchlands property is Industrial and has been since the 70s. With the adoption of the Official Community Plan (Bylaw 2233) in 2005, the land was designated for future Residential development however the Industrial zoning was never changed to align with the OCP land use designation. In the current draft update to the OCP, it is proposed that a portion (approximately 47%) of the Benchlands property be re-designated for future Industrial development. This includes only the portion considered suitable for future development which is the flatter sections of the site between Jim Ogilvie Way and the walking trails at the top edge of the hillside. The balance of the property is proposed to be designated Recreation & Open Space which includes those portions considered not suitable for development being the steep hillsides, the walking trail at top of hillsides, and the existing water utility infrastructure.”
Summary of OCP and Zoning – Benchlands Property
1971 (Zoning Bylaw 911) – Land zoned “I-1” Industrial, Wholesale and Transportation
1994 (OCP Bylaw 1846) – Land designated “M” Industrial in OCP Land Use Plan
1994 (Zoning Bylaw 1850) – Land zoned “M-1” Industrial, Wholesale and Transportation
2005 (OCP Bylaw 2233) – Land designated Low-density Residential in OCP Land Use Plan
2018 (Draft OCP Update) – Propose changes to Benchlands designation in the OCP Land Use Plan
Pollock explained that there are two levels of land use designation — the OCP being the highest level, and then the next level down being a zoning bylaw.
“In 1994, in the OCP and zoning the lands were industrial. Then in 2005, an update to the OCP changed the zoning to residential. That update was adopted in 2005. Typically, what would follow would be a zoning review to update that as well, but that never happened.”
Pollock said it was likely that it was known that there was environmental remediation that needed to occur on the lands and the thinking was that they would get the environmental stuff in place first, then proceed with rezoning. The environmental process has dragged on for over ten years and the rezoning never happened.
“There is a mismatch between the OCP and what is actually zoned,” he said. “As development plans progress, that is when you get everything aligned.”