A new housing project proposed for Canoe sounded like a dream come true of sorts for members of Salmon Arm council.
The project fits all the zoning and official community plan requirements and so, very unusually, it needs no variances to any of the city’s specifications.
Owner/applicant David Claeys of BDGA Development Company Inc. is proposing 60 duplexes totalling 120 units at 4400 and 4600 Canoe Beach Dr. NE, which matches the R4, medium density residential zoning, and the accompanying official community plan (OCP) designation.
In keeping with OCP rules, although the development doesn’t require rezoning, it does require a development permit.
The development permit application, which guides what’s called the ‘form and character’ of a project, came to the Aug. 2 meeting of the city’s development and planning committee. It was forwarded unanimously to the next council meeting. Coun. Debbie Cannon was absent.
A hearing for the application will take place on Monday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. in council chambers. The public is welcome to speak.
The property was the subject of a rezoning application in 2019 to R6, mobile home park zoning, which was turned down by council in a 4-3 vote. The vote followed a marathon public hearing where Canoe residents filled council chambers. The residents and council members opposed to the rezoning expressed concerns mainly about density – the fact a mobile home zoning would accommodate only 60 units while R4 allows a maximum of 140 units. Residents wanted the higher tax base that would come with higher density, while council members who were opposed wanted to fill the need for affordable housing.
The property is approximately 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) and is currently vacant. Four different plans for the units have been created and the city planning department report said that generally, the units are three storeys with a ground level garage, bedrooms on the second floor and kitchen and living areas on the third.
Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, said the owner added visitor parking which is not required.
In addition, Canoe Beach Drive will be upgraded by the owner along the frontage of both properties, which will include a sidewalk, street trees and a multi-use pathway. There is also a need for 45th Street NE to connect from the south – from the Lakeside Pines subdivision to Canoe Beach Drive – and the developer is willing to do that, Pearson said.
The owner’s son Matthew Claeys addressed the meeting, outlining features of the project, such as a lake or mountainside view from the units, energy efficiency, wiring for electric vehicles, and units precision-built in factory so the onsite construction phase is just two to three weeks.
He said although the owners could have planned for the maximum-allowed 144 units, they went down to 120 “to strike that balance between livability and density.”
Although mayor and council asked for further details of some aspects of the project, they all spoke positively of the plans.
Coun. Kevin Flynn expressed his shock at a development not asking for variances. He said he appreciates that a developer can use the existing zoning, build a slightly lower but appropriate density and do it with beautiful units.
“I see absolutely no reason not to wholeheartedly and fully support finally having something happen on this site…I guess waiting has its virtues as this is quite a positive move forward for the Canoe community in my mind.”
Coun. Sylvia Lindgren also expressed her support, adding that one tiny improvement would be to have the name reflect the apple packing plant that used to be there.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond spoke of the importance of this development to the community, with its long history, and of having diversity in housing. She said it could, for example, give long-time residents of Canoe who are tired of yard maintenance a different option.
Couns. Tim Lavery and Chad Eliason also voiced support, Lavery pointing to 45th Street being extended as a key component in terms of a second route for emergencies.
Mayor Alan Harrison said support for the plan is crucial as the owner is doing everything that’s been requested for that area. He noted it provides an option for young families, as well as needed improvements to Canoe Beach Drive and 45th Street.
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