‘New vision’ lowers number of Eastern Hillside homes

The residential buildout potential of Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides subdivision has been cut by nearly 60 per cent in a new area plan.

The residential buildout potential of Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides subdivision has been cut by nearly 60 per cent in a new area plan which comes before council Tuesday.

The Easter Hillsides Comprehensive Area Plan says earlier projections of up to 5,200 homes or 17,000 people for the area were unrealistic because of the difficult terrain and the necessary infrastructure upgrades.

Instead, the draft plan suggests 1,700 homes, or up to 4,000 people, is more realistic.

The draft plan is the result of months of in depth research and consultation, the City of Chilliwack said in a press release Friday. It identifies a new vision for Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides with environmental, social and economic factors guiding its development.  The plan will be presented to council Nov. 1. A public open house will be held in early December, with the OCP amendment to adopt the plan anticipated in early 2012.

“We have learned many things about sustainable development and best practices for community building, since the 1994 Eastern Hillsides Area Plan,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “New Terms of Reference and input from residents form the basis of our shared vision for the future of the Eastern Hillside neighbourhood.”

In the past, the focus for the Eastern Hillsides has been on individual residential subdivisions, with a projected build out yield of up to 5,200 homes for between 13,500 and 17,000 people. However, with the difficult terrain and required infrastructure upgrades, this scale of development is not considered to be viable. The draft Eastern Hillsides Comprehensive Area Plan provides for cost effective servicing and optimal build out yields of 1,700 homes or up to 4,000 people, while supporting the community’s hillside development objectives, environmental requirements, and geotechnical constraints, the city said. “Most importantly, the plan provides a solid basis for community building in the Eastern Hillsides neighbourhood.”