OCP Review Meeting Oct 8th
A subdued crowd of around one hundred people met at the Miner’s Hall Wednesday evening for a public hearing on the new Official Community Plan.
Mayor Gordon Smith chaired the evening and kicked it off with a review of the lengthy process and time put in by the various stakeholders and community members who worked together to create the new document, intended to be a high level guide for Rossland’s actions moving forward.
The most heated exchange of the evening came between Shannon Plamondon and Manager of City Planning Mike Maturo over the rezoning from Open Space to Resort Residential of a parcel around Blue Eyes Swamp as part of the 88 Creekside development. Plamondon questioned why the city appears to be going with a parcel by parcel approach to implementing the 15 meter no build setback around Topping Creek (a bylaw that has gone through the first two readings and is awaiting a public hearing on the matter) rather than a blanket 15 meter no-build policy around watercourses in the watershed area.
Maturo replied, arguing that the proposed rezoning would eliminate the possibility of building anything within the 15 meter no-build zone. Under the current OS-1 zoning, such building could include golf greens, pools, landscaping, and buildings with concrete foundations. Maturo believes the proposed rezoning strengthens protection around the water courses.
Also on the topic of zoning, some concerns were raised over the light industrial zoning outlined in the OCP for the area bordered by Centennial Park, Deer Park Mountain and the existing small industrial area where the recycling depot once sat. While there is no fear of smoke stacks going up in the neighbourhood, the term “Light Industrial” scares some people and city staff is considering changing the name of the zoning to “Mixed Use”, which would better reflect what it might entail. City Engineering Manager Mike Thomas suggested the zoning could contain things like mixed use residential with additional facilities for small scale manufacturing or possibly an artisan operation.
Other issues brought forward by the public included concerns around the current traffic and pedestrian safety on Thompson Ave, which traditionally sees higher speeds than surrounding roads given its status as the main artery through Lower Rossland. Traffic calming measures such as removable speed bumps and/or temporary medians placed along the edge of the road to narrow it in spots with the hopes of lowering speed were discussed.
One concern with traffic calming measures is the potential for increased snow clearing costs; however, the city staff is in agreement that something should be done and has been looking into possible solutions.
The crowd seemed largely pleased with the many long hours and hard work put in by city council, citizens and the various groups that helped to form the document.
Kelvin Saldern summed up this sentiment best with his comments to council which garnered a hearty round of applause from all in attendance. “I just want to take a minute to say I was quite impressed with the amount of work that council has put into this, knowing that the hours and hours of meetings also include hours and hours of reading… I know you get a lot of negative feedback so this is positive feedback. Thank you.”