Although a staff report presented Kimberley City Council with an option of deferring adoption of bylaws to allow the sale of Kimberley Golf Course lands for a small housing development, Council opted on Monday evening to adopt the bylaws amending the Official Community Plan and changing the zoning.
There had been concerns about the sale of the 9.6 hectare property. Those included concern about the proposed use of on-site sewage systems rather than city sewer, potential impact to the rural character of the St. Mary Valley, potential impact to badger habitat (red-listed species) and on other wildlife habitat and corridors, impact of the driveways on traffic on St. Mary Lake Road, and concerns about transparency and public engagement.
Councilor Darryl Oakley asked Troy Pollock from the planning department if there was going to be anything set up to allow animals movement from the river up to the road, ie. not allowing fenced properties.
Pollock said there are 40 feet of setbacks between dwellings but fencing is allowed under the bylaw.
Coun. Albert Hoglund asked if the fencing issue could be dealt with as the development planning continued and Pollock said there would be an opportunity for conversation around that issue.
Coun. Kent Goodwin said he had some concerns about allowing septic systems within city limits, but they are somewhat offset by the fact that the sale of these lands helps a Kimberley non-profit, namely the Kimberley Golf Club. Goodwin said he felt this was not a precedent for other developers for that reason.
“We are allowing development on an upper bench and getting parkland down below, which is pretty good habitat. It’s a worthwhile trade. Because the golf course is right next to it, wildlife can move.”
Goodwin said the other issue was river access for the public. There is a right of way to the river where a road could be developed and he suggested perhaps taxes from the new development could be set aside to pay for the road.
Oakley said he didn’t see why user groups couldn’t come forward to pay for it.