Councillor Steven Cross is calling on the city to protect the environment.
In a series of motions brought to the table at the Aug. 13 council meeting, Cross moved forward with two separate strategies that could potentially block future gravel pits from being approved on Westside Rd. and protect other sensitive areas within city limits.
“I brought these motions forward because the good intentions expressed in our OCP around protecting our riparian and environmentally sensitive areas were not reflected in our zoning and that disconnect could have serious impacts on what happens in these treasured areas,” said Cross in an email.
In the official community plan, much of the city land on Westside Rd. is categorized as environmentally sensitive, however, the zoning bylaw allows for commercial developments such as gravel pits. Cross said that he would like to see the plan and the zoning align with one another, which was the basis of his first motion.
City staff have said that it could take up to two years to complete the Official Community Plan update, and Dawn Low, CAO for the city, explained that this motion will act as a reminder to staff to address the discrepancies between the plan and the bylaw during the updating process.
The second motion calls on city staff to bring forward a report that proposes the budget amounts for a project which creates a Riparian Protection Area Bylaw, including all necessary steps for implementation, to be considered during the budget discussions for next year’s financial plan.
“It was also clear to me that for that intent to protect to have meaning we ought to have a Riparian Protection bylaw to make it real,” Cross said.
Both motions were passed.
“With the positive vote by council these initiatives can now move forward,” Cross said.