A three-night public hearing will go ahead next month regarding a proposal to rezone over 450-acres of land near Fernie.
Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) officials said the Planning and Development Services Committee carried a motion recommending against moving forward with further considerations on the proposal during Thursday’s meeting.
However, the board of directors approved the first two readings and subsequent public hearing for the official community plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw amendment at Friday’s meeting in a nine to six vote.
“We haven’t really heard from the whole community. We heard a large number of delegations that were not in favour of the application as it was presented,” said RDEK board chair Rob Gay.
“That surprised me that the vote went the other way, but that’s how it is. I think people do their best and take what they learn the day before from the delegations and make the decision.”
Gay said it was a hot topic during last week’s meetings.
“We had just a huge delegation on Thursday. I think there were four delegations that came to speak in favour of it and presented some information the board had requested,” explained Gay. “We had about 11 delegations speak against it for a variety of reasons.”
The specific bylaws would change the land use designation on several properties to allow for residential development.
Handshake Holdings Inc., the company behind the proposal, said they plan to divide the 457-acre plot of land into 72 single-family lots, leaving most of the land as green space.
The area known as the Galloway Lands is located just outside of Fernie, on the southeast slopes of the Lizard Range and north of Fernie Alpine Resort.
RDEK officials said the public hearing will be held via Zoom over three nights: June 14, 15, and 16. They note that additional meetings will be added if necessary.
Those who wish to speak are asked to register in advance, and the public hearings will be live-streamed and available for anyone to watch.
Details on how to register and a Zoom link for the meeting will be posted once the details are finalized.
RDEK staff said any written submissions sent before the deadline will be posted in the public hearing notice and will be included in the report, becoming an official part of the public record.
More: Development company presenting plans to rezone Galloway Lands near Fernie (Jan 5, 2022)
More: Local groups voice opposition to proposed development near Fernie (Jan 10, 2022)