At a Regular Kimberley City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, Council voted five to two in favour of passing the third reading and adoption of the Official Community Plan Bylaw 2600.
Councillors Bev Middlebrook and Albert Hoglund voted against both motions, and Council had their final discussion around the OCP (more to come).
Councillor Albert Hoglund started off the discussion by saying he would be voting against the motion, due to several concerns with the designation of the Marysville bench lands. He added that he has spoke against it in the past, and he does not believe it’s the best land use for that area.
Councillor Sandra Roberts thanked those who came forth with their input, saying that it’s part of her mandate to be open to all sides. She also explained that she has always been “aggressive” about economic development. She explained that the bench land is currently the only piece of property that the City owns that is able to be developed, and that the city “shouldn’t have to turn away” businesses that want to bring industry to Kimberley.
Councillor Bev Middlebrook spoke for those who have been against the designation all along, summarizing many of the letters that were sent in to council since the process started. She touched on accessibility to trails, air quality, light pollution, the history of the area and other issues that have arose.
Councillor Darryl Oakley spoke for the rest of the OCP, stating that the high-level document required “a lot of hard work and dedication” and that the Planning Department based the OCP on the voice of the entire community and its future. He said that is is important to continue densification and walkability for the downtown core.
Oakley also stated that it could be “a decade” before anything gets developed on the bench, especially since the city is still awaiting environmental certification.
Councillor Nigel Kitto said that it was a tough decision with regards to the designation of the bench lands. He mentioned that some of the questions pertaining to tax dollars and the cost of developing that land simply can’t be answered at this time, and that there is “still a long way to go”. He said that there has been a lot of good discussion around the OCP, and that “everyone’s voice has been heard.”
Mayor Don McCormick agreed, thanking everyone for their input, and thanked those who came out to the Public Hearing last week. He said that City Planner, Troy Polluck has ensured the trails around the bench will remain the same and that a lot of work has gone into the document, with the best interest of the entire community in mind. He added that the OCP is a high-level document that is concerned with zoning and designation, as opposed to the specific development of any land.