Efforts are being made to maintain public access to a network of trails above a proposed subdivision on Vedder Mountain Road.
The idea is to formally dedicate the existing hiking and biking trails as park space.
Council gave introduction and first reading last week for a new comprehensive development CD-29 zone for property at 42910 Vedder Mountain Road, with rezoning proposed to shift from RSVI (Limited Use Reserve) Zone to a CD Zone.
The OCP and zoning changes are geared to facilitating a “fee-simple single-family residential development” with 11 lots ranging in size from 0.57 to 0.82 of a hectare, in addition to the trails network, according to the staff report.
The new homes would be accessed by a new public road, and the plan includes the creation of two remainder lots with the larger of the two (approximately 3.5ha) being dedicated as park space, and the smaller one as a city water reservoir lot.
The development process to date has included input from City of Chilliwack parks, and Vedder Mountain Trails Association (VMTA) reps, who have been involved in plans to formalize the unofficial trails, known as the Duck Loop, for hiking and mountain biking.
Ernie Kliever, president of the VMTA, and a director of advocacy for the Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association, said this network of trails has been well-used by the public for many years, and they’ve been working closely with the developers to keep it that way.
“It was really important to the developer that public access be maintained to the network of trails that exists above the property,” he said.
Kliever said it has been “refreshing” to have developers keen on preserving public access in this way, and the idea is to register a Right-of-Way over several of the proposed lots to allow ongoing access to the public, and city staff, for trail use and maintenance.
Relocating the bottom section of the trail will ultimately make the network even better, he said.
“It will make for a much more enjoyable experience for trail users, since the current trail is very steep in sections, and not the best for hiking and biking,” Kliever said. “The new trail will be in a much nicer forest with some great lookouts.”
Some of the property sections eyed for development are within the “potential” and “high” geotechnical risk areas, the staff report indicated, so the applicant submitted a preliminary geotechnical report in order to identify the site’s suitability for the proposed rezoning, as well a a preliminary environmental report, prepared by Redcedar Environmental Consulting, to identify the potential environmental impacts of the development.
“The (environmental) report concludes that the site is suitable for the proposed development and recommends conditions that will need to be met at time of development to minimize any impact,” said the staff report.
A public information meeting was held by the developers on Jan. 23 at the Yarrow Community School with about 83 people attending.
The public hearing on the rezoning and OCP changes is slated for 7 p.m. on Feb. 19 at city hall.