Jimsmith development faces opposition

Plans to subdivide a 54-hectare property at Jimsmith Lake face criticism by a community group and some elected officials.

A 17-lot subdivision at the southern end of Jimsmith Lake will be given a public hearing later this month after the Regional District of East Kootenay board gave one reading to a bylaw amendment last week.

A 17-lot subdivision at the southern end of Jimsmith Lake will be given a public hearing later this month after the Regional District of East Kootenay board gave one reading to a bylaw amendment last week.

A proposed development at Jimsmith Lake was given first reading by the regional district last week, despite opposition by both Cranbrook directors and a community group.

The Daprocida development covers 54 acres on the south end of Jimsmith Lake. The developer has applied for an amendment to the Regional District of East Kootenay’s (RDEK) Rockyview official community plan to rezone and subdivide the property into 17 residential lots. Fifteen of the lots will between one hectare and 1.5 hectares in size; the remaining two lots will be two hectares. A park will be maintained on 1.9 hectares of the property.

On Thursday, April 4, the RDEK’s planning committee heard from a consultant for the developer who outlined the proposed zoning changes. The developer agreed to place several restrictions on the property, protecting the piece of land intended for park use, promising not to remove a band of trees along the north and south boundaries that protect the existing views from adjacent properties, and contributing $1,175 per lot to the RDEK for road maintenance in the City of Cranbrook and future trail development in the Jimsmith area.

Area C director Rob Gay, who looks after that area, was satisfied with the development agreement, as was the majority of the board, and it was given first reading and sent to the public consultation stage during the Friday, April 5 meeting.

But five of the 15 directors were opposed to the development: Cranbrook’s Mayor Wayne Stetski and Coun. Bob Whetham, Canal Flats Mayor Ute Juras, Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko, and Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher.

Mayor Stetski said the development goes against the three-year-old Rockyview Official Community Plan (OCP).

“It’s also in conflict with the Cranbrook OCP, Jimsmith Lake Community Association presented their displeasure with this proposal, the Area C advisory planning commission have mutually agreed that one-hectare lots are not appropriate. It does encourage sprawl, it doesn’t encourage smart growth which I think should be of importance to this table,” said Stetski.

Coun. Whetham said that regional district staff put in a great deal of time and effort to put together the Rockyview OCP.

“Plans do need to be amended from time to time as circumstances change or plans become out of date. But nothing has been brought forward to suggest that is the case here,” said Whetham.

“The public was already consulted during the development of the plan and the advisory planning commission has confirmed this direction. It should not be necessary for affected residents and landowners to have to spend more time and resources to try and convince the RDEK board to maintain its adopted policies. I don’t believe this is a necessary step, and I really think it is a discredit to all the time and effort that went into preparing this plan in the first place.”

A public hearing on the development will be held on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. at the RDEK board room in Cranbrook.