Sardis neighbourhood boundaries are shown on this map. (City of Chilliwack)

One more kick at the can in Chilliwack to weigh in on Sardis Neighbourhood Plan

Chilliwack council is set to reschedule the public hearing in early 2021, likely for Jan. 5

Final approval on the Sardis Neighbourhood Plan by Chilliwack council will have to wait until at least the new year.

Council gave first and second reading of the Sardis plan, and related zoning amendments and changes to the Official Community Plan, on Nov. 17.

The final vote by council was originally slated after the Dec. 1 public hearing, but that hearing had to be cancelled “as legislated requirements for notification were not met,” according to a staff report in the Dec. 15 meeting agenda.

That means that citizens will have one more opportunity in early 2021 to weigh in on the Sardis plan, when the public hearing is rescheduled.

This week council is slated to vote on a new date for the hearing, recommended for Jan. 5.

The plan has been under development since last summer and the draft plan was made available for feedback from the public in September.

There were no public meetings given the pandemic but they collected feedback on the plan with the help of a dedicated website.

“Neighbourhood plans” are city planning documents that dictate how the neighbourhood will grow in the years to come in terms of in-fill development and more.

In the case of the Sardis area, it’s estimated to see an influx more more than 6,800 people who will live in 4,000 new dwellings. The Sardis plan will help guide that growth.

One of the eight overarching principles of the Sardis plan is to “enhance and expand natural areas, parks, trails and natural drainage systems.”

That emphasis on more green spaces also came up very strongly in the feedback from the public.

But despite that, it’s not clear at this point how Chilliwack will actually expand these natural areas and trails, according to a letter from Crystal Gillingham of the Chilliwack Park Society.

“Despite this clear mandate from the public, the draft form of the Sardis Neighbourhood Plan contains no set goals for new parks, trails and protected areas other than a promise of two new city parks of undetermined size and location and ‘green corridors’ that are merely quiet streets suitable for riding your bike on,” Gillingham wrote in a letter to mayor and council about the Sardis plan.

The plan should make it clear that the city is dedicated to creating these spaces, by adding trail loops and habitat protection areas, as examples, she said.

RELATED: Lack of new parks and green spaces noted

RELATED: Sardis neighbourhood draft plan ready for comment

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Final approval of the Sardis Neighbourhood Plan won't be before January 2021. (City of Chilliwack)