The Galloway Lands development proposal has been withdrawn and the public hearing that was scheduled for June has been cancelled.
“We have received notification from the developer that following comments and concerns received from the public and RDEK Board, they are withdrawing the current application,” said Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board chair Rob Gay in a press release.
“As a result, the public hearing scheduled for mid-June has been cancelled.”
The public hearing was scheduled to run over three nights on June 14, 15, and 16.
The hearing was planned following a pair of RDEK meetings considering the application to rezone a parcel of land between Mt. Fernie Provincial Park and the Fernie Alpine Resort to make way for up to 75 residential homesites.
The RDEK planning committee on May 12 first recommended not proceeding with the proposal following an over four hour meeting that included 14 delegates speaking on the matter. The vote to recommend not proceeding passed 9-6.
Four of the delegates spoke in defense of the proposal, three of whom were consultants for the proponent, Reto Barrington of Handshake Holdings, who was the fourth person to speak in defense of the application.
Ten delegates spoke in opposition to the proposal moving forward.
The next morning, at an RDEK board of directors meeting, directors voted to proceed with the proposal and send it to public hearing, with three directors changing the direction of their votes. The votes to introduce the bylaw amendments for readings passed 9-6.
In a statement to The Free Press about the withdrawal, Barrington said: “It is our goal to have the best plan that blends the social, economic and environmental interests of the community.”
“Handshake Holdings has therefore requested additional time for consultation and to make improvements to the application. We will address the concerns raised at the Planning Committee meeting and in consultation with community stakeholders.”
According to Barrington, planned amendments to the proposal include: “Confirming our commitment to connect to community services, including sewer, water, and fire flow; confirming options for alternate access to the property; confirming options for ownership management of the park zoned lands; requesting revisions to proposed zoning designations to accommodate a higher density with smaller minimum lot size; confirming our commitment to implement all recommendations identified in the B. A. Blackwell & Associates Ltd. regarding fire safety.”
“The amended plan would then return to the Planning Committee and seek recommendation for a public hearing this summer. We thank everyone for their comments and feedback, and invite you to contact us.”
The RDEK release says that the revised application will proceed through the full bylaw process. They added that following the cancellation of the public hearing, no further public comments need to be submitted on the current proposal.