Council voted in support of an application by the city for an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion of the former landfill property site on Highway 95A.
City staff wrote in the report to council at Monday’s meeting that the property is zoned “A, Agricultural Zone” and designated “Agricultural/Tourism Recreation” in the city’s official community plan. It is approximately 58 hectares (140 acres) in size, 18 hectares (44 acres) of which was taken up by the former landfill.
Coun. Angus Davis asked what the purpose of the exclusion was.
“Does it take into consideration that it’s like a big stomach that’s been buried down there — that big garbage dump,” Davis said. “All sorts of gases that are being formed and formulated.”
Davis warned that future developments could be could be digging into flammable gas pockets.
CAO Wayne Staudt said if the property is used for a development in the future, that would fall under a zoning issue.
He added the actual landfill site is only a small portion of the entire property.
Staudt also noted the area has been closed up environmentally by the regional district.
“They have test wells out there and so forth, and it’s all got a beautiful new chain-link fence around it,” he said. “That is not what is likely to be developed down the road, it’s the other 100 or so acres.”
Coun. Sharon Cross asked whether there were plans to extend water and sewer down Theatre Road to the northern boundary to start servicing some of the new properties that will become available and make them more saleable.
Staudt said the line that could service the area goes right up to the end of Echo Field Road.
“It goes through [Wildstone] and then the waterline continues on there to Shadow Mountain and that area, but the sewer down not extend all the way down to Shadow Mountain,” he said. “So if we were likely to access water and sewer across the highway to this site, it may very well come from the water and sewer line there.”
Staudt said it would be a budget item at that point for council to decide.
The property, located at 4000 Highway 95A, has an Agricultural Capability of 80 per cent Class 4 with limited subclasses of low fertility and topography, the other 20 per cent is Class 6 with limitation subclass of topography.
The city noted that Class 4 soils have limitations that require special management practices or severely restricted range of crops.
Class 6 is non arable but is capable of producing native and/or uncultivated perennial forage crops.
The lands have been contemplated for redevelopment by the city in the 2013 Annual Report under the Economic Development 2014 Major Initiatives. The city also noted the newly developed Northern Area Plan of the Official Community Plan supports the transition of the property to light industrial.
The complete application package will be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission for decision.