Regret for tree removal expressed

City council weighed concerns of neighbours and the wishes of property owners in making servicing and setback decisions

City council weighed concerns of neighbours and the wishes of property owners in making servicing and setback decisions on what was described by councillors as a beautiful property and the envy of many in Salmon Arm.

High above the town and lake at the corner of 20 Avenue SE and 10th Street SE, the parcel is set to become, in three phases, a 34-lot single family residential subdivision.

The owners, listed as E. and M. Byers and a B.C. numbered company, and represented by agent Jayme Franklin of Franklin Engineering Ltd., were requesting three variances from council.

They were granted two of three.

One was to reduce the width of a panhandle portion of a proposed lot from 20 to 10 metres, and the second to waive the requirement to connect two proposed catch basins on 20th Avenue SE to the city storm  sewer system. Staff reported two similar catch basins with rock pits exist to the east on the same street.

Council did not approve a request to reduce the minimum road width of the extension of 17th Avenue SE from 20 to 18 metres.

In supporting the variance, Coun. Tim Lavery referred to the catch basins for stormwater, saying local governments everywhere are looking for greener options like them.

He made one comment not related to the variance, but said he would like to take the opportunity.

“The clear cutting on that lot was unacceptable to me,” he said, noting it was a clarion call to him that the city needs to upgrade its tree bylaw.

“Trees are valuable to residents and to communities. It’s not in front of us now, but that’s my public opportunity to say this.”

Later in the discussion, Coun. Alan Harrison also mentioned the trees. He referred to his colleague’s comments, but said: “I understand there’s two sides to that.”

He noted that putting in servicing can be difficult around trees.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond thanked neighbours for their input and noted they had raised concerns about erosion related to tree removal. She also thanked the engineers and owners for bringing forward the realities of hillside development.