Cottonwoods sparks few concerns

Vacationers fill the campsites at the Cottonwoods Family Campground while boats are moored at the mouth of the lagoon. - Barb Brouwer photo
Vacationers fill the campsites at the Cottonwoods Family Campground while boats are moored at the mouth of the lagoon.
— image credit: Barb Brouwer photo

A public hearing on the Cottonwoods Family Campground in Lee Creek was an uneventful affair.

Both developer Greg Darroch and Columbia Shuswap Regional District senior planner Dan Passmore said they believe the light turnout – just nine people – is indicative of homework well done by both parties.

“Most of them were in favour,” says Passmore. “A couple who owned a house across the lake expressed concerns about boat traffic increase. They have a boathouse on the shoreline that’s being damaged.”

But Passmore noted boating activity on the lake is not new and has nothing to do with the regional district, being under the jurisdiction of Nav Canada, the RCMP and Transport Canada.

He says he is unaware of speed restrictions on the lake and if the boathouse is built right on the lake, it is likely going to be affected by boats during a time of high water.

“Cottonwoods is not responsible for all the boat action; there’s marinas, Little Shuswap River, all sorts of sources of traffic,” Passmore says, noting the rest of the public hearing was uneventful.

New owner Darroch asked for a redesignation of the site from waterfront residential to secondary settlement area – commercial, and a rezoning from commercial 1 to comprehensive development.

This will allow him to redevelop and expand the existing campground, and will permit subdivision of recreational vehicle spaces into bare land strata lots.

Darroch says 12 campsites will be kept for campers to reserve and rent as they do now.

Passmore said another woman at the hearing expressed concerns about how the project fits Lee Creek’s new secondary settlement area (SSA) designation but did not speak against the proposal.

“Her concern was these are not going to be full-time residents, which would increase the population of Lee Creek and lead to better services,” he said, pointing out SSA supports Darroch in such commercial ventures as renting canoes and kayaks and selling fast food, perhaps in a café, and operating a souvenir shop.

There will be no fuel sales and Darroch will operate a recreational dryland  boat storage on-site.

“No boats will be left in the lake,” Passmore says. “You leave, the boat comes out. It’s only in the lake when you’re using it.”

Passmore says Darroch’s proposal will be presented to CSRD directors for third reading at the August board meeting.

“To this point my recommendation is in support of third reading and adoption. He has really helped the process along by being co-operative and doing the necessary work to make sure no real headaches occur,” Passmore says. “I think it really points to the type of development the residents of Shuswap Lake can get behind, that is going to be less of an imposition on the habitat and accomplishes the need of economic development, teaches people about the unique ecosystems we have and points to how the planning process can foster development that meets the needs of residents and commercial interests.”

Darroch, meanwhile, said he too is pleased with the “up-front” development process with the regional district staff and the public hearing and is looking forward to the August board meeting.


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