Missing Diamonds

This is a tale of how things get lost between cracks on an island where there is no government cohesion, and history is lost due to bureaucratic and political turnovers.

In March 1994, the following was reported in the Driftwood –

“Two bylaws concerning a large subdivision on Stewart Road passed their first reading.

The first, Bylaw 323, proposes the 507-acre property be rezoned Comprehensive Development 9 (CD9)…

Under the new zone the same number would be created with a minimum average parcel size of 11.5 acres. The second bylaw, no. 325, rezones an 80-acre parcel of Rural Residential (RR) land to Parks and Reserves (PR). The land is slated to be given to the community by the landowner. Trust staff recommended Bylaw 323 be considered for fourth and final reading “if and when a comprehensive development plan has been registered against property titles at the expense of the owner.”

One month later, in April 1994, the following was reported:

“Swapping an increase in density for a new baseball park is a novel part of a rezoning bid for 507 acres of property between Stewart Road and Ford Lake. Proposed development of the property owned by Trincomalli Developments Ltd. requires rezoning of 427 acres of Upland and Forest-zoned property to a Comprehensive Development 9 zone through Bylaw 323… Current zoning would allow subdivision of the property into 21 lots. Bylaw 323 would increase that number to 37 and result in dedication of 80 acres of public parkland adjoining Crown land near Ford Lake.

As Salt Spring planner Linda Adams said strict rules and legal mechanisms are in the legislation. Adams explained last Friday, the ball park deal is possible because of a new Municipal Act section dealing with “amenities zoning.” In exchange for construction of a multi-diamond baseball facility, the developer could receive the equivalent of four more lots. Adams said strict rules and legal mechanisms are set forth in the legislation, so that additional lots would not receive legal title until the ball park was completed. She added that because the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission was willing to give up the right to develop four lots on a property [210 Kanaka Road] it owns near the new secondary school in Ganges, an overall density increase on the island would not result Adams said the zoning for amenities concept comes from “a recognition that zoning authorities have incredible power to increase property values.

“If they are going to do that for a developer, the philosophy is that the community should benefit as well.” It is suggested that developers give communities some form of amenity valued at 75 per cent of what the developer gains from rezoning. If one new lot valued at $100,000 results, the community should receive $75,000 worth of amenities.

https://islandstrust.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/driftwood-bylaw-323.pdf

Bylaw 323 was passed into law, and, as a result, eventually, in 1997, a covenant restricting the number of dwellings on the Kanaka Road property was registered on title.

The Comprehensive Development 9 Zone, which was passed and put into Land Use Bylaw 123 specifies the requirement for a ball park.

And, the Schedule to the CD9 Zone has the exact specifications of the Recreational Ball Park Facility which was to be constructed.

So, fast forward to April 2021, 27 years later and guess what? There is no ball park. Call me crazy, but I’m just going to make the assumption here that no ball park will ever be constructed.

Which brings us to CRD PARC’s current proposal to downzone the Kanaka Road property from residential to a park maintenance facility.

With a few words and the stroke of a pen, the Islands Trust covenant could be removed by the Local Trust Committee, thus freeing up all 7 densities on the CRD property. With a rezoning application, both CRD PARC lots (210 and 220 Kanaka) could be amalgamated and rezoned to Residential 1 and voila – we could have 18 affordable housing dwellings.

The question which needs to be asked of our elected CRD and Islands Trust representatives is this – Are we in a housing crisis, or in a park maintenance crisis?

To date, CRD PARC’s version of events is sadly lacking in the above historical accuracy and details. Perhaps it is time they do some homework on the subject and rethink their decision.

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