Sunshine Coast Regional Board (SCRD) directors voted last week to refuse an application by AJB Investments to rezone a 911-hectare tract of managed forest land in the Chapman Creek watershed area for large-lot rural-residential development.
Staff recommended refusal of the application at the Sept. 20 planning and development committee meeting, reporting that AJB did not provide details on future lot configuration “and a straight zoning change could result in upward of 200 parcels, many located within the Chapman Creek watershed area.”
The properties, which start about 3.5 km from the top of Field Road, can be accessed only from the forest service road network, and active forest harvesting takes place in the area, the staff report said.
The committee voted against the application because it conflicts with the We Envision sustainability plan that focuses growth in existing neighbourhoods and easily serviceable areas. It also fails to meet environmental provisions set out in the draft Roberts Creek official community plan and the source assessment response plan for the Chapman Creek watershed area.
AJB official Mark Rodgers said the company intends to reapply with a reworked submission.
AJB has also approached the SCRD with a proposal to convert its Pine Flats gravel mine to a storage reservoir and use excess water for a small hydroelectric project, but a formal rezoning application for that project has not been filed.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the Narrows Inlet hydro project during two open houses next month — at Egmont Hall on Oct. 12 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and the Sechelt Band Hall on Oct. 13 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Narrows Inlet Hydro Holding Corp. — a partnership that includes Gibsons-based Renewable Power — is proposing to build five small hydroelectric facilities on four creeks in the Tzoonie River Valley. The project would have a combined capacity of about 44 megawatts at peak water flow times.
“While the majority of the project is in Halfmoon Bay, the power lines (for the most part using existing infrastructure) will cross and may be visible from Egmont and other parts of Area A,” senior planner David Rafael reported on Sept. 20.
In his report, Rafael noted the project had been scaled down and fell below the threshold for review by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), but the proponent chose to continue with the assessment process anyway.
The public consultation period for the project started Sept. 7 and ends Oct. 22. After considering all submissions received during that period, the EAO will rule on the proposal within 120 days of the application date.
Renewable Power was the project developer for a power plant at Tyson Creek that was shut down for four months in 2010 after sediment entered the water and created a turbidity issue for fish habitat.
The company has said it will try to demonstrate during the assessment stage that a similar event will not be repeated.
The project is expected to create 70 to 80 full-time jobs, and construction will take five to six years, the company said.