News

Top Stories of 2011: Chilliwack cuts hillside density

Buildout potential was cut down considerably in the City of Chilliwack’s latest area plan for the Eastern Hillsides.

The new density threshold is set at 1,700 homes for about 4,000 people, which is less than a third of what people were talking about in the mid-1990s.

The 4,000-people mark was pegged as the threshold at which infrastructure costs would rise “significantly,” creating uncertainty as to how those costs could be shared equitably, according to city officials.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the plan would most impact those who had purchased land on speculation that there would be higher density, but hillside residents were sure to like the decrease.

City reps used descriptors like “more viable” and “sustainable” to describe the revised hillsides area plan that they’ve been working on for more than a year.

The real costs of servicing and infrastructure were calculated and taken into account with this document and that’s what makes it different from past plans. It surveys that available capacity to support growth, especially in terms of the geo-technical limitations around Panorama Heights, as well as looking at environmental and market forces. The city was forced to purchase homes on Panorama Heights when it was discovered they were shifting and built on an ancient slide before they had the tools to assess such things.

Topography in the hillside regions can be “very steep” with 45 per cent of the land at more than 30 per cent grade, which is not suitable for development.

There’s also a scenario where buildout is at 6,000 homes, but it’s contingent on about $20 million in infrastructure money being produced up front to rebuild Annis Road and modifications to Prairie Central Road.

Update: The hillsides area plan went to public hearing and will be coming before council for final approval with OCP amendments sometime in 2012.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Teacher strike cheques in the mail
 
Most colonoscopies on time in Fraser region despite demand surge
 
Marijuana referendum petition fizzles but campaigners vow to fight on
Forum focused on domestic violence
 
Election 2014: White Rock candidates – top issues and platforms
 
Border seizures net guns, drugs, cash
Waste to be tapped as gas
 
Hospital worker begins campaign to aid starving infants in North Korea
 
Candidates talk about social services

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 29 edition online now. Browse the archives.