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Update: Public hearing Aug.6

Trying again: Bonnie and Dan Baskill have brought back a revised development proposal after their first one was turned down.  - James Murray/Observer
Trying again: Bonnie and Dan Baskill have brought back a revised development proposal after their first one was turned down.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

The story below, revealing controversy surrounding the Blind Bay Resort development project, which goes to public hearing Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. in Sorrento Memorial Hall, incorrectly reported that owner Dan Baskill is planning to put 112 seasonal units on the foreshore of Shuswap Lake.

Baskill's proposal includes putting 19 modular buildings on the foreshore, which is currently zoned single family.

"What we're looking at is 90 bareland strata lots, 19 of which would be on the foreshore," explains Columbia Shuswap Regional District senior planner Dan Passmore, noting Baskill's development proposal for the upland portion of the property includes an unspecified number of campground spots, 24 potential motel units, a single-family dwelling and employee units.

Baskill says the site became a campground in 1972 and a resort in the mid-'80s.

Regarding moving Baskill's current proposal to the public hearing stage, Passmore says there was no opposition from regulating agencies.

"The regional district did not get any referral comments back that indicated there were any issues to clear up or prevent us from holding a public hearing."

Passmore notes that Baskill has made an application to the Lands Branch of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to extend his dock, but the ministry has indicated nothing will be processed pending the outcome of Baskill's rezoning application.

"They will withhold any decision on the licence of application until zoning issues are cleared up."

 

UPDATED STORY BELOW:

Controversy is percolating around Blind Bay Resort development plans.

And anyone who has an opinion to voice must do so before or during a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6 at Sorrento Memorial Hall.

At a July 17 board meeting Columbia Shuswap Regional District electoral area directors voted unanimously to give Blind Bay Resort owner Dan Baskill’s development plan second reading and send it on to public hearing.

While Baskill maintains his development will benefit local businesses and encourage tourists to move to the South Shuswap, others are crying foul on various fronts – including the size and possible impact of his proposed dock and the implications of putting 19 modular buildings on a foreshore that is zoned single-family residential.

Baskill’s proposal had been turned down at a January board meeting, a move that caused an uproar among his supporters, who accused directors of voting on  a project they had never  seen.

Normally, a proposal does not return to the board for at least six months without substantial changes to the application.

“There was a lot of confusion and the directors brought it back on the basis of a two-thirds vote. You don’t want to use it willy-nilly but it is there,” said CSRD chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton of the mechanism that allows the early return of an application. “In staff’s mind, the changes weren’t significant.”

But Baskill believes otherwise.

He says he reduced the numbers of moorage slips from 70 to 55 and offered five per cent of the property’s value in cash, as well as a strip of land along the western edge as an easement in order to allow public access.

Baskill argues his property was a campground long before it became a resort, and has replaced previous problem parties on the site with a safe, secure resort for families.

Shuswap Water Action Team president Ray Nadeau looks beyond the good times.

A member of a committee that created the new official community plan (OCP) that was adopted in March and which clearly limits foreshore development, Nadeau and SWAT are taking issue primarily with the proposed dock.

He says the resort’s “massive private dock” will be the longest on Shuswap Lake, exceeds minimum setbacks, poses a safety risk and will encroach on four adjacent properties.

SWAT also opposes the seasonal nature of Baskill’s development, maintaining it will further burden a small and already overcrowded bay.

CSRD Development Services manager Gerald Christie says after the board’s decision to give the proposal first reading in May, staff sent out referrals to all required agencies.

“All have come back with green lights,” he says, noting there were no significant changes.

CSRD senior planner Dan Passmore notes that Baskill has made an application to the Lands Branch of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to extend his dock, but the ministry has indicated nothing will be processed pending the outcome of Baskill's rezoning application.

"They will withhold any decision on the licence of application until zoning issues are cleared up."

The development requires amendments to the newly-minted South Shuswap OCP.

Says Christie: “As far as the new OCP bylaw #725 goes, there are several instances that don’t speak favourably to this type of development on the foreshore.”

In the bylaw that will now go to public hearing, one of the amendments is to add a new policy exempting the property from eight other policies within the OCP.

“Those policies were recommended, and nothing less than that would do to the people of the South Shuswap,” says Passmore of the OCP that was eight years in the making and included significant community input. “This exemption flies in the face of that.”

The eight areas that would need OCP amendments deal with respecting environmental and foreshore values, permitted land uses within secondary settlement areas, maintaining near-shore areas of Shuswap Lake ecologically intact by focusing development away from the shoreline and by minimizing impacts from moorage facilities.

In terms of moorage, the new OCP says it may be included only for fee-simple waterfront parcels. New development proposals get one moorage per waterfront parcel or 30 metres of water frontage.

Lastly, large-scale commercial development is not acceptable in secondary settlement areas and should be directed to the village centre.

“What is being done is a very site-specific zoning,” Christie says. “Staff have pointed out, in both our reports, the issues and inconsistencies with the new OCP. Now we’re waiting to hear from the public on these proposed amendments.”

Following the public hearing, all public input relating to the proposal then goes to the board for its consideration of third reading.

No submissions can be received after the close of the public hearing. The CSRD board of directors is expected make a decision on the application in September.

 

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