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Some residents against proposed Steelhead development

Christina Hart is gaining support for a petition opposing the proposed 65-lot subdivision in Steelhead.

She collected over 50 signatures and visited 20 homes over the weekend, and every resident, except one, shared her concerns and disapproval.

Hart's property backs onto the proposed development site near the corner of Cardinal Street and Thomas Avenue, and if the development was approved, she said her quiet, rural setting would be disrupted and the view from her home would be rooftops instead of the serene forest setting.

OTG Development Concepts applied last month to rezone two properties, totalling 32.3 hectares (80 acres) from the rural 16 zone to suburban 36 zone. This would allow a minimum lot size of 0.88 acres with municipal water services, or 1.73 acres without. Under the current zoning, lots have to be at least 1.6 hectares (four acres).

The Steelhead Community Association board executive members supported OTG Development Concept's right to the application process, but did not state their support for the re-zoning.

According to the SCA's website, "We did not sign anything representing the community as at that point we did not know if the residents would support the rezoning application and it is not up to the executive board to make these kinds of decisions without input from the residents of Steelhead."

Hart and new neighbours whose properties border the proposed building site hope the project will not proceed. She was surprised Mission council allowed the application to proceed to a public hearing next month. In a report to council, district staff recommended rejecting the proposal, but councillors moved the application forward in order to hear residents' comments.

Hart bought her nearly 4.5-acre property with her husband eight years ago. Before purchasing the land, they researched to make sure a proposal like this would not be permitted.

"We're surrounded by the tree farm," said Hart. "This is our paradise and retirement."

She feels the development would spoil the rural character of the community, endanger wildlife and the environment, and create urban sprawl.

Greg Olson, who lives on Thomas Avenue, said his small street can hardly handle existing traffic. The development would be at the foot of his driveway.

Olson, is concerned about what the project will do to the water in the area and doubts there is enough of it to support the proposed homes.

"It's wrong," said Olson of the proposal. "The area doesn't warrant this at the moment. I'll fight it."

The developer is hosting an information meeting on the project Thursday, Sept. 27 at Steelhead Community Hall on Cardinal Street from 7 to 9 p.m.

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