Cranbrook city council passed first reading of a planning amendment that could pave the way for a significant new development in the Shadow Mountain area.
Oasis at the Dunes Ltd. the developer seeking the planning amendment, is asking for changes to the housing mix and distribution, as well as increased density for two properties on the east side of Highway 95A in the Shadow Mountain neighbourhood.
Specifically, the amendment will facilitate development of 10 single family lots, 18 duplex units, 54 multi-family units and 60 condo units, pending the results of an forthcoming zoning application.
The proposed amendments would also add a new “two-family residential use” category and tweak the total unit distribution counts for the East Side of the St. Mary Neighbourhood Plan to include 156 strata single family detached and two family residential, 19 future strata single family and 118 multi-family residential.
In total, 481 units are proposed for the entire east side, including 293 units on the Shadow Mountain East Side strata and 188 units in the adjacent lands.
Cranbrook city council passed the proposed amendment’s first reading by a 6-1 vote, with Councillor Wayne Stetski being the lone vote in opposition.
Those in favour pointed to the city’s need for housing, while also expressing concern about the message that denying the proposal would send to developers.
“Development isn’t happening, it’s not occurring at the rate that is close to matching the demand within the city. We’ve got developers that are out there that are undertaking these developments that are going to meet the needs,” said Mayor Wayne Price.”
“We have to remember as well, this parcel of land was brought into the city a number of years ago, so this is in the City of Cranbrook and I think we gotta be real careful here. We start picking and choosing where we’re starting to develop when we’ve got developers project ready out there to meet the needs in the community…we reject this, I just caution you, what’s the message that we’re sending to the current developers and to future developers?”
Councillor Wayne Stetski objected to densification far away from the city’s downtown core.
“Just on principle, I can’t support a development including additional density in a place that is 14 kilometres away from downtown Cranbrook,” said Stetski. “It does not fit with smart growth principles and so I will be voting against this.”
While Councillor Norma Blissett voted in favour, she also aired similar concerns about rural densification and urban sprawl.
“I’m always opposed to sprawl and this is sprawl,” said Blissett. “However, the horse is long out of the barn on this, we lost the fight back in 2008 when that council approved this development. There’s been nearly 20 years of little movement out there.
“I do think this is first reading, I will support this to go ahead, but I don’t want to see us develop all the way from Cranbrook out to Shadow Mountain. I want to preserve the countryside.”