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Public Hearing: Grafton Lake Lands Rezoning Dec 4, 7pm

Posted by John Dowler 
Public Hearing: Grafton Lake Lands Rezoning Dec 4, 7pm
November 26, 2017 10:54AM
Join us at the Public Hearing
7pm ~ December 4th ~ Municipal Hall

After three years of planning, the rezoning process is coming to an end. We would like to thank everyone who has been part of making this truly a community plan, and we are are proud of the legacy it will leave. Please join us to support our plan for the future of the lake. - John Reid & John Dowler

See the plan book and our aerial video: graftonlake.ca

A few features of the plan:

• Dedication of the Art Rennison Nature Preserve, a 227-acre municipal park encompassing the lake and connecting Mt. Gardner to the Ecological Reserve
• Trail connections through the valley and encircling the lake
• Land for Cove Bay water treatment plant
• Purpose-built long-term affordable rentals
• Small homes on small lots
• Community garden and orchard
• Separated bike path parallel to the road
• Expansion of the Orchard Recovery Centre
Re: Public Hearing: Grafton Lake Lands Rezoning Dec 4, 7pm
November 30, 2017 03:43PM
In 1999, then GVRD Director Richard Littlemore stated that the most pressing thing facing Bowen Island was to address issues around the Cove Bay Water District water supply , then not under the control of, but administrated by GVRD. These included security of access and protection of water quality. It has taken 18 years, but we now have a unique opportunity to both secure and protect the lake, plus much of its drainages, and create a model development.

John Reid has a long history of imagining development solutions which greatly benefit the public interest while providing desirable residential lots and ancillary uses. While not quite on the same scale as Cowan Point, it is by far the most consequential proposal since then.

I fully support passage of Bylaws #439/440, even though they are not by any means ‘perfect’.

The reasons are as follows:

1. Dwarfing all other considerations, the dedication of approx. 65% of the area for Nature Reserve and water supply/distribution/quality control solves the referenced decades old dilemma- something that Littlemore feared would require expensive expropriation.

2. The development would set the highest bar yet achieved on dedication of lands (and in this case, water), for public use. It should be used as a reference point for any future developments- that in the absence of sizeable DCC’s which in other communities usually amount to ~$20,000 or more per unit, a high percentage of land set aside for public use plus provision of other public amenities should be a mandated prerequisite.

3. The mix of envisioned uses, control of maximum house size, mix of single family dwellings and attached housing, agricultural commons, small office spaces, water treatment site, potential day care site, extensive trail development and environmental protections all will lay the foundation for an excellent neighbourhood.

4. There is considerable flexibility to ensure that the developer can adapt to changing market conditions and the needs of the future residents.

5. The swap of ALR lands makes eminent sense, particularly because the White Swan site has better sun aspect and apparently, better soils.

6. Holding land in reserve under the catch-all of Retreat, yet subdivided into 3 parcels, allows for smaller institutional uses and potentially novel ‘intentional residential' housing forms.

7. The ability, within Area 5 (North Housing) to construct attached accommodation opens up the possibility of some seniors’ housing.

8. The care taken to ensure proper drainage patterns away from the lake, good wildlife corridors, connectivity of trails and multiple large Nature Preserve areas will heighten not just the ‘park-like’ ambience, but will genuinely protect environmental values. The environmental report is the best I have seen for a project of this size.

9. The sale of land to the Orchard, and realignment of some lot lines, construction of new access routes will benefit immediate neighbours.

10. The inclusion of a Guest House designation and a dedicated good location, will round out the uses with a ‘right-sized' tourist facility.

There are some modest changes that I would like to see incorporated in the plan.

1. Provide more emphasis on clustering of dwelling units and attached housing.

2. Ensure that density units are properly tracked and recorded. The density reallocation can come from Cape Roger Curtis (as has been noted by planner Daniel Martin, and will be for Community land development). Supplemental to that, some Crown Lands can be down zoned to free up density units. But we should not ignore the clear language in our OCP in this regard, and recognize that we shall not manufacture density units ‘out of thin air’.

3.Provide for more than just bus stops, but a means of feeding transit riders to those Grafton Road bus stops.

4. Consider a local service area or some other means to raise money over time for construction of future neighbourhood amenities such as playgrounds.

5. Specifically reference and endorse the relocation of some trails away from lakeside proximity, and possible construction of new trails routes from the vicinity of Duncan’s Hat to Hand loggers Trail.

6. Allow greater flexility in residential building type, to adjust to emerging needs. As well, specifically lay out mechanism to ensure that affordable housing components remain that way over time.

7. Provide incentives for ‘collective housing’ and other alternate residential uses which improve affordability. Waiving or reduction of permit fees would be a good start. A new definition of dwelling unit, which reflects size, would also be of long term assistance when interpreting the OCP/LUB residential limits.

There may be other deficiencies and uncertain outcomes but the overwhelming benefits, to me, are patently obvious.
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