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Opposition to Development in Castlegar

What do you do when a good development is being opposed by surrounding residents?

Situation

On Monday night, opponents to the proposed Grandview Heights development in the south end of Castlegar will have their right to be heard before the City Council.However, these people should not underestimate the powerful voice of future residents of this development, who want this to go ahead this year.

Note: This is not a detailed analysis of all of the issues involved, this article merely represents my personal thoughts on the matter, see disclosure at the end of the article for more information.

Read more after the jump…

Background

DoukhoborsThis development is not your average one. Briefly, the Doukhobor community and other like minded individuals and couples in the region have pooled resources to build a retirement area, with a 150 bed care facility surrounded by duplexes and some fee simple lots. Now who would oppose that? There is no greedy developer to shake your finger at, it’s a community, decedents of some of the earliest settlers of this region.

Now, I’m no historian, but these people have been around long enough to work out how to get things done. If they weren’t doing it, it would be a developer with little desire for or interesting in community. Make sure things are being done right, to best practice and within the city bylaws, but just let them carry on with this development as planned.

Development Objections

It seems like the main objection is being raised on the grounds of traffic… People living on an unfinished road, (ie cul de sac/dead end, wishing that the people who will live off the newly constructed road will have to exit their residence another way, NIMBY, not in my backyard. There are other issues too, but from what I understand, this is the most pressing.

I understand the sentiment, you buy your piece of paradise, at the end of the road… then five, maybe ten years later, the road gets built out a bit further, then a bit further… soon, you feel like you’re in the middle of town, not on the rural fringe you thought you were on.

Solutions?

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Is there a simple solution?

The topography doesn’t permit an easy alternative, the City needs to consider the next stages of development as well, and overall, (I’d love to see the results from the traffic study too), it makes sense to use the existing road for this development, not the best road, but one that meets city standards for an appropriate level of service. Ideally, this facility would be within walking distance of shops and other facilities, but in rural areas, you can’t have everything, I wrote about this regarding public transport a couple of days ago.

This will be a first class development, in a beautiful location, and will be a great place for a community to retire and rest. I hope the city approaches this with an open mind, looking for a solution that doesn’t unfairly burden either group of people.

As with all areas undergoing growth and transformation, Castlegar is still finding a balance with respect to permitting development and ensuring existing residents retain similar if not improved levels of service with all parts of the City’s responsibilities, water, sewer, parking, roads, snow clearing, parks, walking trails, sidewalks, vegetation, traffic control, garbage, recycling, public transport… The list is pretty long.

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Disclosure: As many of you know, I am part of the professional team currently designing the Grandview Heights subdivision. All comments and opinions are mine and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of my employer or our clients.


Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.