Thank you to RDEK staff and the proponent Ross Priest for their willingness to accommodate the concerns of the majority of letters acknowledged and voices at the public hearing. One must wonder what was to be gained by not giving credence to those professionals who listened and made adjustments. While the proponent for this proposal obviously wished to act in good faith by putting forth suggested covenants for the proposed development, only time will tell if others would feel they should do the same.
Futher reporting may be read at:
With respect to the RDEK Public Hearing on April 26th, regarding Bylaw No 2689 for Cranbrook East (known as the East Hill). Directors Rob Gay (Area C), Lee Pratt (City of Cranbrook), Tom Shypitka (City of Cranbrook), as well as Andrew McLeod (RDEK Planning & Development Services Manager) and Tracy Van de Wiel, (Planning Technician) attended the the public hearing. 29 members of the public attended. There were 17 letters submitted opposing the zoning amendment as it had no restrictions. Overall, there was support for a solar project in general. One letter supporting the project and one note supporting the project.
The general focus of comments at the meeting was support of a solar project on the 6600+ acre site, with the exception that there needed to be some restrictions (as there are for some other allowable uses like a gravel pit). 11 people spoke to the need for some restrictions, and 7 spoke in favour of no restrictions.
On May 3, RDEK Planning and Development Services Manager submitted a Request for Decision to the RDEK Board,. Prior to bylaw adoption the applicant agreed that the following parameters for a development agreement to be registered on the title of the property as a restrictive covenant:
“No solar energy facility may be developed on the property unless:
1. It is located a minimum of 500 m. from the property boundary;
2. Is located no more than 200 m north of E-W BC Hydro right of way;
3. Is located north of SW-NE BC Hydro right of way;
4. Does not exceed 800 ha (1977 ac) in parcel coverage.”
The RDEK Board had three options to consider on this matter for it’s May 6th meeting:
1. THAT Bylaw NO. 2689 cited as “Regional District of East Kootenay - Cranbrook Rural Zoning Bylaw No. 1402, 2001 - Amendment Bylaw No. 42, 2015 (Cranbrook East/608534 BC Ltd.) be read a third time; and further, that a development agreement containing the items identified in the May 3, 2016 staff report be registered on title prior to bylaw adoption.
2. THAT Bylaw NO. 2689 cited as “Regional District of East Kootenay - Cranbrook Rural Zoning Bylaw No. 1402, 2001 - Amendment Bylaw No. 42, 2015 (Cranbrook East/608534 BC Ltd.) be read a third time.
3. THAT Bylaw NO. 2689 cited as “Regional District of East Kootenay - Cranbrook Rural Zoning Bylaw No. 1402, 2001 - Amendment Bylaw No. 42, 2015 (Cranbrook East/608534 BC Ltd.) not proceed.
STAFF RECOMMENDED OPTION 1.
However, it has been reported to us that Mayor Lee Pratt, City of Cranbrook, opposed Option 1, indicating that none of the restrictions were necessary. The RDEK board voted to accept Option 2.
Needless to say, it is very disappointing that the RDEK Board did not see the need for some restrictions on a 6600+ acre parcel (larger than the size of Cranbrook) that would address the needs of the proponent and the general public.
The minimum 500 m. from the property boundary would have created a buffer zone between a solar project and the Cranbrook Community Forest.