After a recent public hearing, council has given final approval to a bylaw that updates and replaces the Ponderosa Pincushion Area Structure plan.
Among the changes in the updated plan are: a provision to allow the required affordable housing (10 per cent of all housing) to be additional to, rather than part of the total housing allowed; mapping changes to reflect some repositioning of housing on the site; requirements for upgrading Ponderosa and Somerset; clarification of requirements for intersection improvement at Ponderosa and 13th Street; and, perhaps most significantly, a provision that will allow the required new access road (i.e. the new road connecting the development to Hwy. 97) to be completed during the first phase of development instead of prior to the first phase of development.
Council has struggled with this last issue because it means that there will be inconvenience for residents on Somerset and Ponderosa as up to 350 homes are built before the new road is completed. However, with the project facing enormous front-end costs for golf course completion and infrastructure improvement, we have acknowledged that it is reasonable for the developers to seek revenue generating opportunities before facing yet another significant capital outlay for access road construction.
It is understood, and clearly defined in the negotiated Phased Development Agreement, that home number 351 will not be built until the new road is in place. The developer is committed to working with municipal staff and local residents to minimize inconvenience during the period of construction, and further information regarding these measures will be made available when development applications have been processed, and construction schedules are finalized.
Following a separate public hearing, this one related to the proposed New Monaco development, Council has now approved a bylaw incorporating the New Monaco Area Structure Plan into our Official Community Plan. A Phased Development Agreement that will provide clarity and certainty about many of the plan’s conceptual elements has yet to be negotiated and is the next stage for progression of this project.
Prior to completion of this next stage, council will have the results of an economic impact analysis that it is about to commission. Terms of reference for the study are now being developed, after which, expressions of interest to carry out the study will be sought from qualified consultants.
The purpose of the study is to analyse the sustainability, and impact, of currently proposed levels of housing supply, and provide information to help ensure that growth is managed effectively over the long term.
On a different note, we were disappointed to learn this week that our grant application to the Provincial Government ‘Towns for Tomorrow’ program for support to assist us with renovations to the Primary School was not approved.
That is a set-back to our plans, but we are following-up on other opportunities, including with our MP, Dan Albas, in light of an earlier offer from Stockwell Day to seek Federal assistance. Exterior treatments, removal of hazardous materials, removal of guano and the installation of web cams to showcase the amazing bat colony have now been completed, ending the first phase of work. Subsequent phases will address upgrades to meet current building code requirements, and interior renovations.
In other recent news, the municipality has received notice from the owners of the McDougald road gravel pit of their intention to re-commence operations with effect from June 22 2011.
Given that the owners chose not to pursue a court challenge of the municipality’s regulatory bylaw, that bylaw remains in full force. Operations at the site will be closely monitored to ensure full compliance. In the event of non-compliance, the district will have the option to seek enforcement through a court injunction.
To end on a brighter note, it is satisfying to hear from so many people how much they appreciate the new Beach Avenue walkway. With sunny weather finally upon us, the walkway is getting more and more use; neighbouring residents, tourists, and locals are out in full force enjoying the delights of Peachland’s magical waterfront. And this week, the lifeguards at Swim Bay (the only swimming area in the Okanagan to be lifeguard protected) began work. Summer is here!