City staff will present options on how to protect the Jordan River at the next council meeting.
Coun. Tim Palmer made a motion March 23 with the rest of council’s support, minus the mayor, to have staff prepare a report on how to save the river.
“As time goes by those lands becomes more and more at risk to what the community views as inappropriate, and what I view as inappropriate development on those lands,” Palmer said.
Director of development services, Marianne Wade, said protecting the Jordan River will take at least another year as a Natural Asset Plan is first needed as well as an Official Community Plan update. She also anticipates an update to the Zoning Bylaw, which might include the creation of an environmentally sensitive designation, could also be used to protect the area.
However, when it comes to Crown Land, the province has the final say, no matter what the city does.
Palmer clarified his request, saying he didn’t expect the land to be protected in the next two weeks, but rather wanted a public report outlining how city staff plan to get it done.
Adding that Wade gave many of the answers he hoped to see in the upcoming report, in response to his motion.
“We’ve had well over a year to deal with these lands, the community had loudly stated that this is very very important and so it is time to get very, very concrete timelines how we are going to accomplish this,” he said.
Protecting the Jordan River was brought front of mind in 2019 after a crown land application was submitted to develop a gravel pit in the area.
The province later approved a two-year investigative license for the area, despite ongoing public backlash as well as a negative referral from the city.
A requirement of the applicant, Jake-Jay Construction, was to hold a public information meeting, which packed one of the small meeting rooms at the community centre on Jan. 28, 2020.
In March of 2020, city council voted to prioritize the Columbia Park and Westside neighbourhood plan in their ongoing Official Community Plan update, in order to address concerns about the proposed gravel pit.
Mayor Gary Sulz suggested Palmer amend his motion to allow more time for staff to prepare the report, however, the newly elected councillor stood his ground. The next council meeting is scheduled April 13.