Many members of the public voiced their opposition to a development proposal in the Hatzic Bench area.

Hatzic development debate heats up

More than 500 signatures were collected on three petitions and more attended a public hearing at Hatzic Secondary School last week.

Hundreds of people do not support a proposal to develop single family lots on two properties totalling almost 14 acres in Hatzic.

More than 500 signatures were collected on three petitions and more attended a public hearing at Hatzic Secondary School last week to tell council their thoughts.

The two subject properties are located at 8455 and 8502 McTaggart Street.

Local developers Gary Toor and Jason Tiegen have submitted an application to subdivide the lands on behalf of the owners, Colin and Catharine Jack, Mil-Kai Investments Ltd., and Kartar Holdings Ltd.

The properties could be split into 61 residential lots with a minimum area of 7,200 square feet, but the lot configurations are still conceptual.

The area is designated for urban residential development in the Official Community Plan and is considered “completing of filling in” an established neighbourhood by city planners.

Speakers opposed to the project were concerned about increased traffic and crime, and a lack of sidewalks and services.

Some people spoke about the unique characteristics of Hatzic they would like preserved and said they didn’t want a high density development, like Cedar Valley.

Retired RCMP inspector Richard Konarski, who lives in the neighbourhood, said he was surprised a traffic study did not recommend any measures to improve vehicle movement. He suggested, at the very least, a left turn lane should be put in place at the end of Dewdney Trunk Road where it meets Highway 7.

Debbie Schmidt, whose property borders the first phase of the development, asked that speed bumps be installed near Hatzic Park to slow traffic and a fence constructed to give her some privacy.

In a letter to the district, David Jack, whose family owns Ferncliff Gardens, said he never expected this many homes would be proposed for the area when the family farm sold. He noted his family still lives in the family house east of the properties, and hopes to continue operating a specialized dahlia farm, which is now in its 95th year.

Some people supported the development, including Wilson Seig, who spoke about how the entire area used to be strawberry fields but past councils had a vision to grow the community and build houses in the area.

In a letter in favour of the development, John Tait said the area is “beautiful” and considered the location to be prime real estate in Mission. He also spoke about the quality of Toor’s projects in the past and believed people looking for a well-built home will benefit.

There are no watercourses or environmentally sensitive areas on the property. The developers plan to extend the existing trail at Hatzic Park to create a new entrance on the east side of the park, and upgrade existing roads. The developers will also extend the district’s sewer line to the area to service the new homes and homeowners along the new line have the option to hook up too.

The developers are planning to build in two phases. Twenty-five single family residential lots would be created in the first phase, and up to 36 lots could be accommodate in the second.

Mission council will review minutes of the meeting before deciding whether to advance the proposal.