Property rezoning has residents questioning local democracy

Our goal, as a neighbourhood, was to preserve the character of our community.

We live in a quiet neighbourhood in Sardis, located just behind the Chilliwack Mall.

Recently a home was purchased by a developer and soon after his purchase a notice of rezoning sign went up. The existing small rancher was on a lot about 12,000 square feet in size.

The rezoning application was to rezone from R1 A – single family home to R3 -small lot subdivision. So far our neighbourhood has been untouched by the developer’s hand. The fact that this neighbourhood has gone untouched is what makes it so attractive to a buyer when a house does become available, which is not very often.

The OCP – Official Community Plan – calls for densification. We realize that densification/modernization is becoming a part of life. But, as it states in the city’s zoning guidelines they also strive to “preserve the character of the community”. We have a community of older, well kept homes on larger lots located near a riparian corridor. We have a very unique neighbourhood and when the Carter family did the original subdivision over 50 years ago they drew up a restrictive covenant that was intended to preserve the integrity of this area for future generations.

Our goal, as a neighbourhood, was to preserve the character of our community. So, we started a petition against the rezoning- part of the democratic process – or so we thought.

On November 20, 2012 there was a public meeting at City Hall and on the agenda was the rezoning application for the lot in question. We had 50 signatures on the petition that were opposed to the proposed subdivision. The developer’s real estate agent had five names in favour and those five, as we understand, were absentee owners. Of the 50 names we had on the petition, which was 91 per cent of the residents, over half of those were present at the public hearing to voice our thoughts on why the subdivision should not proceed. The restrictive covenant was brought up during the presentation but the mayor and council thought it was not relevant for the purposes of the proposed development. So, despite the petition, the attendance/support of our residents at the hearing and the restrictive covenant the rezoning application was passed. It was like our voices fell on deaf ears; so much for the democratic process.

Everyone was in disbelief. We were heartbroken. How could we, with such support, not be heard? How could a 50-to-five majority not have a voice? There was a process in place that we all had faith in, a process we thought was going to work. Apparently if City Hall wants something, democracy does not apply.

In closing, all the residents in our neighbourhood would like to thank Councillors Mr. Lum and Mr. Popove for their support. They listened to the people and they voted against the rezoning application.

Al Reimer

Just Posted

Garrison store going to new heights for children’s charity

Save-On Foods employees raising cash for BC Children’s Hospital, by throwing managers from airplane

Tourism Chilliwack brings home industry award of excellence

Sto:lo Welcome Figures carving project outside the Visitor Centre loomed large in the win

UPDATE: Dying days for 25-bed mental health facility on Chilliwack/Abbotsford border

Closure of Mountain View criticized by NDP in opposition but hasn’t reversed Fraser Health decision

B.C’s Indigenous tourism sector takes centre stage in Chilliwack

One-day workshop will look at ways to embue the industry with authenticity

IIO seeks witness in Dodge Ram who may have seen fatality after Taser incident in Chilliwack

Second police watchdog release of vehicle images asking for driver/occupant to make contact

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

LISTEN: Retired broadcaster gives voice to Fraser Valley history

Heritage buff Mark Forsythe introduces Valley Voices, a podcast featuring local history.

Most Read