Bowing to neighbourhood opposition, Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors voted last week to reject a proposal to create 12 off-site parking spaces on a residential lot by Sakinaw Lake.
The decision followed a public hearing last month in Pender Harbour that drew 55 people. Of 18 speakers, eight spoke in favour of the application, nine were opposed, and one was neutral, senior planner Andrew Allen reported to the planning and development committee on July 17.
“We have to recognize that there is significant concern from surrounding property owners,” Allen said, recommending the committee abandon the application due to lack of support in the immediate area and that other options be explored.
The zoning amendment application for a parking lot at Mixal Road and Shady Lane was intended to meet the conditions for a water-access subdivision about three kilometres north, which is accessed on land by a forest service road that does not qualify for subdivision approval.
In a follow-up motion by Pender Harbour/Egmont director Frank Mauro, the committee agreed to ask the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for “relief from the requirement to provide off-site parking as a condition of approving the subdivision.”
The letter will also ask MOTI to allow the use of the existing access road to the proposed subdivision site, subject to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) granting tenure, with the responsibility for road maintenance resting with the property owners.
The committee also agreed to a second motion by Mauro to schedule a meeting with FLNRO Minister Steve Thomson at the September Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, where the board will request forest service road status for the entire length of the access road to the proposed subdivision and Sakinaw Woods.
Ag plan stalled over cost
The planning and development committee decided not to go with staff’s recommendation to adopt the Agricultural Area Plan last week, with several directors expressing concern about the possible costs of initiatives tied to the draft plan’s stated objectives.
“I read it once and I thought ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching,” board chair Garry Nohr said at the July 17 meeting. “It needs a little more analysis of costs before we go anywhere.”
The draft plan contains about 100 proposed actions with varying timelines, lead organizations and funding levels defined as low, moderate or high.
The committee directed staff to organize a workshop in early September to discuss the plan’s objectives, costs and funding sources.
Directors have asked staff to arrange a meeting in early fall with elected officials from member municipalities, including the Sechelt Indian Government District, to discuss “collaborative use and maintenance” of sports fields on the Sunshine Coast.
The issue arose July 10 at the community services committee when Sechelt Nation director Chris August said the Band had been trying for years to develop a partnership with the SCRD for sports field maintenance.
The Band’s sports field needs major work during the next year, August said, noting the field is used by the community at large, not just Band members, and the cost of upgrading it “is going to be a bit much for us.”
Directors agreed it was time to move on the issue, but also voted to invite municipal councils to participate in the discussion.
© Coast Reporter