A construction worker walks around the back of a home off Marble Hill Road on Wednesday morning.

A construction worker walks around the back of a home off Marble Hill Road on Wednesday morning.

Chilliwack hillsides plan takes servicing into account

A more viable comprehensive area plan for Chilliwack's Eastern Hillsides was received by city council on Tuesday.

A more viable comprehensive area plan for Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides was received by city council on Tuesday.

“It’s a much more sustainable plan than we’ve had in the past,” director of development Karen Stanton told council during a presentation.

Buildout potential on the hillsides was reduced to 1,700 homes for about 4,000 people — less than a third of what was envisioned in the mid-1990s.

The plan has been in the works for a year and a half, with input from staff, various experts, and residents who attended open house events.

What’s different is that it takes the real costs of servicing and infrastructure into account.

The 4000-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, she said.

“In 2010, staff began to look at how we could integrate updated expectations around the size of the community, with a servicing strategy ensuring cost recovery in place to support it,” Stanton said.

They looked at available capacity to support growth, especially in terms of the geo-technical limitations “especially” around Panorama Heights, as well as looking at environmental and market forces.

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 considerable suitable for development, she said.

There’s also a scenario in the plan’s appendix that looks at up to 6,000 homes, but it’s contingent on about $20 million in infrastructure money being produced “up front” for rebuilding Annis Road and changes to Prairie Central Road.

Mayor Gaetz thanked staff for the area plan, “for giving the residents and developers of the area an idea of what is attainable.

“I know there was some arm-wrestling over this, so thanks for taking the calm approach.”

After the council meeting she said that council had not specifically discussed what the impact the revised plan might have on land prices.

“We didn’t have that talk, but two areas that will be impacted are those who bought land on speculation, thinking they would be able to achieve higher densities,” said Gaetz. “And the second is residents, who I think will be pleased with this decrease in density. It will probably be more expensive to purchase land but it will be for the niche market.”

It’s “too late” to go back and collect infrastructure monies from older developments, Gaetz pointed out.

“So obviously this put pressure on the community to densify in other places to attain our regional growth targets. We still hold tight to the ideal of protecting farmland but there has to be recognition that it is more expensive because of infrastructure and terrain challenges to build in the mountains.”

The hillsides plan is expected to go to public hearing after an open house is held Dec. 1. Then it comes to council for final approval and then OCP amendments could be presented sometime in 2012.

Councillor Chuck Stam reminded everyone that the approval by council was to receive the presentation, not to approve the plan, and that a public hearing on it was still more than a month away.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read