More suites for Wedgewood denied

SLRD board rejects proposal to allow extra secondary suites in subdivision

An application to allow an additional secondary suite per lot in the Wedgewoods subdivision was rejected on Monday (May 27) by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Board.

The change in the zoning requested would see a suite permitted in an accessory building, like a garage, in addition to the currently allowed suite in the main residential unit.

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SLRD board members felt the increase in population density that could result in was too big of a change to the overall project.

Instead the board amended the motion to permit the developer to put one into either the residential unit or the accessory building, but not both.

Director of planning Kim Needham explained to the board the developer approached the SLRD planning department to request the change in order to make the overall subdivision more marketable.

"It was to give Wedgewoods a market edge to improve their sales and this is one way to provide options to them," Needham said.

Pemberton Director Ted Craddock, however, objected to that argument, saying the Village of Pemberton does not support the added residential units.

"Adding a few hundred units just down the road is not something we look forward to," Craddock said. "I think it is bad planning, I don't think it is necessary."

Area D Director Moe Freitag also questioned whether the board has an obligation to change zoning to make the development more marketable.

"This still changes the scope of the project significantly," Freitag said. "Why are we here to basically support somebody's failing business case?"

Area C Director Susie Gimse said the overall density cap of the subdivision remains the same - the square footage of residential construction allowed does not change with the amendment.

"It's not unusual to amend a bylaw to accommodate a change in a plan because the economy changes or the circumstance changes," Gimse added. "We are changing development plans all the time - that's what we do and I don't see this being any different from what we do all the time."

Needham said given the size of lots in Wedgewoods the additional suites would not have affected parking or setbacks from adjacent neighbours, typical concerns when secondary suites are added in already established neighbourhoods.

Needham said if suites were permitted in both the main residential unit and accessory building it would prevent illegal suites from being developed, which is an issue the SLRD building inspector has encountered.

Farm camping proposed

A proposal to develop camping sites on a Pemberton farm has been referred to the SLRD's Agricultural Advisory Committee for a recommendation.

Len and Pat Ritchie approached the SLRD with a desire to include 10 sleeping units on their local farm. A report to the board indicated the Ritchies believe by offering camping on their property they can supplement their income and contribute to the tourism economy.

They would like the SLRD to consider a zoning amendment for an agri-tourism zone to allow for camping and recreational vehicle parking on a portion of their property, which lies in the Agricultural and Reserve.

SLRD staff hopes the committee will provide insight into the alignment of the proposal with the overarching vision of agriculture in Area C.

Board lessens workload for planning

After a report from the SLRD planning department last month requesting the board prioritize a number of projects still on the books, three projects have been deemed of either low priority for staff or eliminated altogether.

Out of the Electoral Area Directors meeting it was recommended that the invasive species service bylaw have a low priority and the shipping container policy and regional telecommunications tower location issue be removed from the planning department's work plan.

Electoral Area B Director Mickey Macri said the board owes its due diligence to staff after they indicated they have more work than resources to complete.

SLRD supports food system project

The SLRD board voted to provide financial support and staff time to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Southwest B.C. Food System Design and Planning Project.

While the project is set for three years, the board approved one year of support and asked that it report back on progress before continued funding is provided.

In addition to the $5,000 and 40 hours of staff time over the next year, the SLRD will provide copies of its Pemberton Valley Agricultural Area Plan, the phase one report of that plan and copies of the Lillooet and Area B Agricultural Plan once completed.

The plan's overall cost is $792,000 and according to Kwantlen "the design and implementation of the plan will offer a vision and roadmap of prioritized steps that can be taken by farmers, food sector entrepreneurs, consumers, governments, and First Nations to create a Regional Food System that reflects aspirations for increased food security and self-reliance."

SLRD won't pay for carbon offsets - yet

The SLRD voted to not make carbon offset purchases for its 2012 emissions and to instead save the money until it can purchase credits locally.

Staff recommended purchasing from Offsetters with funds going toward the Nanaimo Landfill Gas Capture and Flare Project. Chief Administrative Officer Lynda Flynn indicated at first the SLRD was told it had to purchase through Pacific Carbon Trust, but has since been told Offsetters is acceptable as well.

Board members, however, wanted to see the $3,000 payment for carbon emissions benefit local projects.

"It is ridiculous to be spending money outside our district," Craddock said.

Flynn said staff are working on finding out what is needed to purchase offsets locally and will report back.

In the meantime, Gimse made a successful motion to not purchase offsets and establish a reserve in which the money will be held until it can be allocated to future local projects.

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