Darrell Trouton’s affordable housing project continues to be batted back and forth in a political process resembling a table tennis match.
Once again the Sicamous mayor’s development was brought before the district committee of the whole for discussion at its Jan. 11 meeting. Coun. Greg Kyllo was acting chair for Trouton, who excused himself due to conflict of interest.
When the development proposal for 727 Parksville (where Trouton resides) last came before the committee in December, a key sticking point was variances the developer sought on the required upgrades and improvements (sidewalk, curb, gutter, lighting, etc.) along Parksville Street and Larch Avenue. Committee members were particularly opposed to the variance for Parksville, which was to be done over three phases, tied to subdivision.
The developer has since come back with an amended variance request, to do Parksville in two phases, with the second phase and Larch being delayed.
District staff was supportive of the varied variance, with municipal planner Stave Noakes noting the newly amended proposal would result in a reduction to the disruption on Parksville.
“Concerns do remain as Parksville Street will not be upgraded in its entirety at this time,” stated Noakes in a report to council. He describes Parksville as a well-used pedestrian access to the commercial mall as well as the elementary school.
The idea of having Parksville only partially completed, with the remainder hinged on future subdivision, did not sit well with Couns. Fred Busch, Charlotte Hutchinson and Joan Thomson. The three councillors not only wanted to see the developer complete all of the sidewalk and related works along Parksville, as required, but also expressed interest in the district completing the sidewalk to Sherlock and Larch.
Couns. Don Richardson and Terry Rysz favoured the variance, not wanting to heap financial hardship on the developer during a poor economy.
A motion was made by Busch that council require the developer to complete all works along Parksville up front, and that council look at the sidewalk expansion in the financial planning process. The committee voted this down, with Couns. Richardson, Rysz and Kyllo opposed.
“Who are we working for, the developer or the community?” shot Hutchinson. “We’re compromising like crazy, more than 100 per cent if we allow that. I just want you to consider that.”
Richardson made a motion to recommend council go with the staff-approved amendment. Kyllo noted the district’s expansion of the sidewalk along Parksville would be held up by the completion of phase 2 (section 3) of the development, for which there’s no time frame.
After further discussion, Richardson agreed to defeat his motion and go with Busch’s original motion. This left council momentarily stymied as to how to proceed. It was quickly decided to defer the matter to the next committee meeting, giving the developer time to respond and staff an opportunity to come up with costs relating to the municipality’s portion of the sidewalk expansion on Parksville.