Council ponders Jimsmith Lake development

Cranbrook recommended against a regional district proposal to allow an 11-lot residential subdivision in the Jimsmith Lake area.

Cranbrook recommended against a regional district proposal to allow an 11-lot residential subdivision in the Jimsmith Lake area.

The proposal came forward during the regular meeting agenda at the Aug. 12 council meeting.

The Regional District of East Kootenay referred a proposed OCP and zoning amendment to the City of Cranbrook for comment. The proposal would amend the RDEK’s Rockyview OCP and the Cranbrook Rural Zoning Bylaw to allow the area at the south end of Jimsmith Lake at the end of Lakeview Drive to be subdivided into 11 residential lots and one proposed vacant lot for park use. The lot is a 54 acre (22 hectare) property.

Coun. Bob Whetham said the proposal had actually gone before the regional district before but with smaller lots.

“It was withdrawn as a result of opposition,” Whetham said. “What they are doing this time is they are coming back with a revised proposal, limiting parcel size to two hectares.”

The last time it was 21 lots proposed on the property.

Whetham said that this proposal at least opens it up to being a more rural development.

“I’m not super enthusiastic about more development around Jimsmith Lake,” he said, adding that he would be prepared to let it go to public hearing to hear what residents there think and whether they would go with five acre (two hectare) lots.

Whetham, who along with the mayor sits on the RDEK board, said he was not sure this was really a city issue at this point, since the city would likely not be directly impacted.

“With smaller lots I could see it at some point, with failure of sewer systems or lack of water or some other reason for the city looking at having to resolve a problem,” he said. “I think when you’re getting into five acre lots it’s at least rural, so I’d be prepared to let the residents have their say in a public hearing.”

Coun. Denise Pallesen agreed with Whetham.

“I don’t have a problem with the lot size they’re proposing,” Pallesen said, but wondered if the properties could be subdivided again in the future.

Whetham answered that basically anybody can apply for an amendment to the zoning bylaw at any time, so it could happen again.

“It’s not likely to be accepted if there’s not a change in circumstances,” he said. “With our own experiences with what we have around the city now, people don’t normally develop their property with an eye on future settle-age, most of the time they stick to dwelling somewhere around the middle. Basically future subdivision becomes impractical until that life cycle of the buildings around us is gone.”

Coun. Sharon Cross said she couldn’t support the proposal either.

“The regional district spent months consulting with the public to create the Rockyview OCP and then within a few months, the first time this proponent came forward, wanted to amend their bylaw and now they want to amend it again,” Cross said. “It’s the cumulative effects on small lakes that I think does the most damage.”

She said that a lot of residents of Cranbrook spend time at Jimsmith Lake and enjoy the small lake atmosphere.

“I can’t support this,” she said. “The accumulative effect I think would be very damaging.”

Mayor Wayne Stetski noted he was not in favour of the proposal.

Coun. Gerry Warner said he’d swam in the lake recently and was impressed with it. He noticed however the weeds growing up from the lake bottom.

“It’s the accumulation of use, and this would mean more use,” Warner said.

Council followed city staff’s recommendation to not recommend approval of the proposed Bylaw No. 2486 and Bylaw No. 2487.