Hatzic Ridge development ends five year wait

The project has been on the books since October 2006

A proposed 107-acre subdivision near Hatzic Lake, which has been struggling to win council’s approval for more than five years, received third reading Monday at a public hearing.

The Hatzic Ridge development, which first came forward to council Oct. 25, 2006, is expected to receive final approval Wednesday (after The Record’s press deadline), pending a list of requirements be met by developer Lyle Holman.

“In the end we had to compromise and come out with a lower density, larger lots, and we think it’s going to be a really good project,” said Holman Tuesday, adding buyers have been waiting.

There have been two previous applications for the two properties involved. Council rejected an initial proposal for a high-density subdivision composed of 217 single family dwellings, 60 townhouses, 20 residential apartments and 7,500 square-feet of commercial space.

The second proposal involves 109 executive homes on a spacious 45 acres, with 40 acres of protected wilderness and streams. Five acres have been identified as open area, commons or wildlife corridors that link to the protected areas. The remaining 18 acres are within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

That application reached third reading on May 7, 2007, before it stalled due to provincial regulations which have since been rescinded, allowing it to move forward again.

The lots will be privately owned but residents will pay a strata fee to maintain the protected areas, as well as garbage collection and snow removal.

Project consultant Rex Blane said the development will provide “extensive community benefits,” given the developer will install a water trunk main along Ferndale Avenue and a sanitary main through currently unserviced parts of Hatzic that rely on well water.

Not everybody at the public meeting were in favour. Some Ferndale Avenue residents showed up to voice their opposition to higher numbers of vehicles, although two traffic studies have green-lighted the development.

Cornelius Bergen said he thinks the development will devalue his own property, and is concerned the rural area isn’t ready for such a large population increase.

But Holman said the project addresses a need for more higher-end homes in the district.

“We’re trying to appeal to a 55-plus client, to keep those people here in Mission. A big problem with Mission is that when people retire and they look around for a nice, low maintenance kind of situation, there’s hardly anything here. They go to Abbotsford.”

Holman said the community suffers because it loses residents at the time in their lives when they’re going to be volunteering.

There are numerous requirements before the project can receive a building permit: receipt of a $108,000 Community Amenity contribution; finalization of design guidelines submitted to the district, which includes three trees per lot; preparation for a terms of reference for the recurring bi-annual environmental audit; registration on title of a public right-of-way from Ferndale Avenue to East Edwards Street; any outstanding requirements from engineering; a $25,000 letter of credit for a recreational area; and a $98,100 letter of credit for installing and maintaining trees.

The developer has also volunteered $37,000 towards upgrading the trunk main on Lougheed Highway downstream of the Hatzic Sanitary Lift Station.

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