Kimberley Council gives approval in principle to Taylor’s Mill

Proponent made a number of changes to the development, including a switch to strata from fee simple

The Taylor’s Mill development is going to proceed. Kimberley City Council voted Monday night (with one Councillor against) to allow the development to move forward.

There have been many meetings with the proponent Fraser Armstrong and city staff over the summer, and many changes to the development proposal to get it to this point.

Armstrong had been arguing all along that given current economic conditions, the only way the development could proceed was to allow a ‘Sustainable Living Business Incubator’ model. This particular type of development is rural, with larger lots allowing home-based businesses and different services than a standard city subdivision.

Council had been reluctant to allow smaller diameter water pipes, septic systems, gravel rather than paved roads and other changes which the proponent argued would make the development viable in this climate.

But compromise appears to have been reached. The biggest change is that Taylor’s Mill will now be a strata development rather than fee simple. This means the strata would provide snow ploughing, storm water management, garbage pickup, noxious weed control and road maintenance.

Mayor Ron McRae said the move to a strata was quite significant and made him feel confident that approval in principle from Council could allow the development to move forward.

Armstrong said that city staff agreed to each compromise/change.

Among those are:

While the water supply system will continue to have smaller diameter pipes, in addition to a residential sprinkler system, there will be an onsite, above-grade reservoir which will provide gravity flow to fire hydrants. Piping to the fire hydrants to the reservoir will be enlarged. Armstrong said that fire protection would offset insurance costs and he didn’t expect that strata fees would be astronomical.

There will be on-site sewage treatment for each lot, as soil testing indicates this is feasible. This will be an additional cost, but doable Armstrong said.

All roads in this phase of the development will be gravel, far cheaper than paved roads. At present the main road connecting Taylor’s Mill to the highway will be gravel as well, but if the development proceeds into other phases, the developer would pave it.

“We have changed the proposal quite significantly,” Armstrong said. “We have addressed the concerns of all councillors. We’ve discussed each point and reached consensus with staff. We present this with confidence. We would like this concept approved in principle so we can move forward with a preliminary market test.”

While Council expressed some concerns with a strata, citing problems with residents paying full city taxes and then strata fees, the approval in principle was given.

“We have to allow the project to succeed or fail on its own merit,” said Coun. Don McCormick.

Coun. Kent Goodwin was the one no vote. He said it wasn’t that he was against the project, but rather that he wasn’t comfortable giving it the green light without a final report from staff on all the changes.