The need for land zoned light industrial in Salmon Arm overshadowed the objections of neighbouring property owners at city council’s March 8 meeting.
Applicant Bill Laird, who represented owners of two separate parcels, Bruce & Rose Mierau and Stephen & Helen Charlton, told council the move from A2, rural holding zone to M2, light industrial zone has been in the planning stages for many years and the city is in need of more light industrial land.
Although two properties were the subject of the rezoning application – 3831 20th Ave. SE and 4270 10th Ave. SE, concerns raised were similar for both.
Speaking to the rezoning application for 10th Avenue SE, longtime resident Vern Stevens brought up a number of concerns that other speakers and letter writers also raised. He said his family will have been in the park-like setting for 30 years next year and he had expected a young family would buy it one day. He noted that it’s a wildlife corridor used by moose and bear.
Stevens said if Salmon Arm is to remain a top place to live in Canada, it should preserve its clean air, big trees and rural living. He raised concerns including traffic, loss of agricultural land and the cost of supplying infrastructure to an area on septic.
Other speakers and about 20 letter writers on both applications spoke of water pressure concerns; the loss of a multi-use corridor leading to the South Canoe Trails used by cyclists, walkers, horses, runners and children going to school, as well as the amount of traffic already present with the disc golf course and Little Mountain Park.
Mayor Alan Harrison confirmed with staff that a three-metre-wide greenway would be a requirement in front of any new development along 10th Avenue SE.
Staff and council members pointed out that the properties have been identified for industrial use for about 30 years in official community plan (OCP) discussions. In the most recent OCP their removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve was approved by the Agricultural Land Commission, subject to final approval for light industrial zoning.
Coun. Kevin Flynn also noted this type of rezoning will help make a sewer extension possible; otherwise funding would be solely up to taxpayers.
Adjacent property owner Mike Melin with Access Precision Machining Ltd. wrote in favour of the 20th Avenue SE rezoning.
“I am happy to see that someone has the same vision for this area – and is willing to step up…”
Harrison said the city gets requests for land zoned light industrial all the time. He said it’s a way to attract the young families the city wants.
He pointed to companies like ADAM Integrated, Forsite Consultants, USNR and Valid Manufacturing that produce few emissions and employ hundreds of people, mostly young professionals.