All five members of council were at the Cache Creek council meeting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9, the bulk of which was taken up with a public hearing to do with the proposed rezoning of a parcel of land at the eastern end of Stage Road and Woodburn Drive. During the course of the hearing, Mayor Santo Talarico issued a warning that unless the community embraced growth, it was heading towards losing its incorporation and becoming instead a community administered by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
1213185 BC Ltd. — represented at the public hearing by Thomas Calme and Chris Gjemes — has asked that the property be rezoned from R1 (Single Family Residential) to R4 (Mobile Home Subdivision) to provide a total of 59 individual strata lots. First reading of the zoning amendment was given at the Oct. 28 meeting.
Two dozen members of the public were at the hearing, at which CAO Martin Dalsin read out the sole written response. It was from Rod and Odile Johnson of Woodburn Drive, who noted their concerns about possible strains placed on the Village’s infrastructure, and the effect on the neighbourhood from increased traffic and noise. They added that a mobile home park on the site would impact land and home values, and that they would rather see a development where people owned their own home.
Dalsin explained that the development will not be a mobile home park. “It will be a subdivision, with permanent structures. People will own their home but the properties will be strata for better control of the appearance.”
Calme and Gjemes said that they would be contracting with a modular home developer, from whom purchasers would buy their home. “We tried to come up with something that isn’t cookie cutter. We want something people can be proud of.” It was also clarified that people would not be able to “sneak in” a mobile home, and that only new modular homes would be allowed.
Members of the public raised concerns about flooding issues, increased traffic, speeding, noise, snow removal, and pressure on existing Village infrastructure. Dalsin noted that infrastructure issues such as fire protection and water for the new development were not being considered at the rezoning stage.
“The approving officer makes sure that everything to do with infrastructure meets current codes, and would work with the fire chief and the public works crew to make sure it meets current standards.”
Regarding flooding, it was noted that the company could not deal with issues on other properties, but Dalsin said that when it comes to new street and land development, there would be streets with storm management. The developers added that there would be manholes, and roads would have catch basins.
It was also noted that the project would be done in phases, over the course of six to eight years, with the pace dictated by how many people want to move in.
Asked if there would be any option for people to purchase their property, Calme and Gjemes replied that that was not an option. “We’re trying to bring an affordable housing option to Cache Creek, and in our mind this is the best way of doing it.” They added, in response to a question, that there would be no age restrictions regarding who could live in the development.
“We don’t want those restrictions when there are so many young people looking for affordable housing.”
As the property would be strata, snow removal would be done privately, with no cost to the taxpayers of Cache Creek.
Speeding and increased traffic were the subject of several comments. One resident of Stage Road said that he had purchased a home there because of the lack of traffic, and complained about people speeding along Stage, as did another member of the public.
The developers replied that they could not control how fast people drove, but that the roads in the new development would be 25 feet wide, narrower than Village roads. “People will have to slow down as the road narrows.”
One person asked how much inconvenience would be caused by the new development. Talarico replied that there had been no major housing developments in the Village since the 1980s. “This is growth. We’re heading to be part of the [TNRD]. It’s as simple as that.”
Calme and Gjemes agreed that 59 new lots would mean an increase in traffic, but also stressed that this was what growth looks like. “There will be some growing pains.”
The public hearing ended at 7:45 p.m., and council gave second and third reading to the zoning amendment bylaw that had been the subject of the hearing. Coun. Wendy Coomber gave details of two recent meetings she had attended: an Interior Health meeting and a workshop to discuss modernization of B.C.’s Emergency Preparedness Act.
“Interior Health is looking at a rural health care model for us. Things look very promising for health care in our area, for the first time in a long time.”
Dalsin said that the Emergency Preparedness workshop revealed some common themes amongst municipalities, and added that one thing brought up was the need to redesign the 80/20 funding formula for recovery, as many communities were unable to afford their 20 per cent. Coomber added that some Emergency Management BC personnel at the workshop noted that the need to come up with 20 per cent of rebuilding costs was why some damage is not repaired. “Municipalities can’t afford it.”
The Journal asked if the public meeting that had originally been planned for October, to discuss (amongst other things) the fate of the Cache Creek pool, had been postponed to the New Year, and if information was still being gathered. Talarico replied that he was hopeful that they can collect information, and carry on with the meeting in the New Year.
A question about the state of the proposed Block Watch program, which was discussed at a public meeting in January 2019, yielded the reply from Coun. Sue Peters that the program was on hold, but that the local RCMP are in favour of it, and that she will be meeting with them in the New Year to go over plans.
Shortly after 7 p.m. council voted to move the meeting to a closed session.
Minutes and agendas for all Cache Creek council meetings are available on the Village website (http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/). Video recordings of council meetings can be viewed on the HUB Online Network’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.