Council has approved a site-specific exemption to floodplain bylaws for a proposed home in Cedar Valley, despite neighbours’ opposition.
The variance was requested by John Pearson, who sold 0.79 acres of his property at 32876 Tunbridge Ave. to the district for $400,000 in August for the purposes of the Gaudin Creek realignment plan.
The former Mission councillor explained to council Monday evening that he required a new foodplain setback from the proposed creek of six metres from the mandated 15 under the floodplain management bylaw, and flood construction level above the natural ground elevation of 0.6 metres, instead of 1.5.
Because the home is within 15 metres of a watercourse it triggered a review from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in August, but received approval that “no harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat will occur.”
But a “malicious” newsletter condemning the proposal was reportedly sent to 300 people in the neighbourhood, said Pearson, adding he has complied with every government requirement.
“The definition of public interest is something in which the populace as a whole has a stake and that’s not the case here,” he said.
During question period, two of the development opponents questioned council, criticizing the single-family development when the official community plan (OCP) has designated future development in Gaudin Creek for multi-family townhomes.
“This single-family home will stick out like a sore thumb,” said Diane McCulloch, a nearby homeowner.
But council was unmoved by the arguments, since the zoning bylaws allow for single-family homes and there aren’t any townhome development proposals before council.
“This is the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome,” said Coun. Jeff Jewell.
“I do understand there’s a great deal of public opposition to this, rightly or wrongly,” said Coun. Nelson Tilbury. But what we’re left with is a proposal that meets OCP and DFO approval, he said.
The $400,000 for Pearson’s land was taken from DCC reserves for Cedar Valley Drainage as allocated in the 2011 budget and incorporated into the long-term capital plan for the Gaudin Creek realignment plan, set for 2014.
Legislatively, the OCP is reviewed every five years and Gaudin Creek will be reviewed again in 2013.
The ballooning costs for the Cedar Street/Gaudin Creek project were presented to council Monday, with an additional $416,805 approved with an internal loan.
This is a follow-up to a Nov. 21 report before council that indicated the Cedar Street widening project was experiencing significant cost overruns, going from $8,000 on Nov. 10 to $435,000 a week later.
This brings the total project cost to $5.34 million from an original budget of $4.92 million.
The General Capital Reserve is projected to have a balance of $580,000 by year’s end, which doesn’t affect planned capital projects but will hinder any additional projects, read the report.
The cost overruns initially occurred without the knowledge of administration or council, leading to an internal review of project management.