Almost eight years after the Regional District of East Kootenay took its first steps toward securing the permanent protection of District Lot 48, the property is now owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and is about to be zoned as park and open space.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased the property and a series of bylaw amendments are expected to come forward for first reading at the June board meeting to recognize, designate and zone Lot 48 as natural, open space,” said RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay.
“The effort to save Lot 48 from inappropriate development began in 2005 when the board introduced Bylaws 1880 and 1881 that would have seen Lot 48 re-designated from Resort Development to Rural Resource,” explained Gay. “Although many years have passed, those bylaws were still pending in our system. At our board meeting on Friday, in anticipation of the new bylaw amendments coming forward in June, we officially rescinded Bylaws 1880 and 1881.”
The bylaws have remained active for nearly a decade. In 2006, the board was set to hold a second public hearing on the bylaws which, if adopted, would have formally rezoned the land. The board postponed consideration of the bylaws to allow more time to see if the parties involved could reach a negotiated settlement for the long term protection of the land.
Over the past seven years, the board has continued to defer scheduling the second public hearing as ownership of the property changed and efforts to secure the preservation of the property continued.
“Though many things have changed over the years, one thing we as a board have always recognized is the important cultural and environmental values of Lot 48. I am thankful we did not rush this issue. The delayed decision was the right decision and it will be fantastic to see this land permanently protected,” said Gay.