Castlegar city council passed bylaw and official community plan amendments last week, effectively giving a green light to a housing development in the Woodland Park neighbourhood.
The amendments change the permitted use of the property in question from low density or single family residential to medium density residential. The change was necessary as the new development consists primarily of duplexes.
The Castlegar River Estates development will be built at 100 18th Street. The strata development will consist of 16 duplexes (32 units) and two single family homes built on 4.1 acres.
At a public hearing prior to approving the amendments, council heard from a number of Woodland Park residents who were not in favour of the development, or who were not in favour of certain aspects of it.
The primary concerns voiced revolved around traffic, population density and the water system.
One speaker asked for a show of hands from those present in the audience to indicate who was in favour of allowing duplexes — hands did not go up.
But while neighbours didn’t like the idea of densification, council felt that is exactly what Castlegar needs.
“As the community grows even further, every area is going to see some form of densification,” said councillor Florio Vassilakakis.
“There is demand on housing — not only for the growth, but also for the affordability.”
Councillor Maria McFaddin said “I think the benefit outweighs the concern.”
Council also believes that solutions put forward by the developer and the city’s civic works and development services departments will address most of the residents’ concerns.
A traffic engineering study showed existing roadways would be sufficient to handle the growth in traffic.
McFaddin also noted that while traffic will increase from current levels, it likely would not increase from historic levels when the neighbourhood included a school and a church.
As a condition of creating the subdivision the developer will be required to provide about 2,000 square metres for a future city park. The developer will also be required to construct 18th Street and the related infrastructure from west of Greenwood Drive to the east portion of the proposed development and will also pay half of the sidewalk costs.