A bylaw complaint in the South Shuswap sparked a conversation among frustrated directors at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s November board meeting.
The development in question concerns construction in a floodplain area that began prior to the introduction last spring of the Area C official community plan.
In the ensuing discussion, Development and Planning manager Gerald Christie advised directors that property owners in the regional district are not always getting the right advice.
“There seems to be prevailing attitudes from qualified environmental professionals (QEP),” he said at the November board meeting. “Some QEPs and non-QEPs are providing advice that may not be to the best interest of the landowners.”
On the other hand are landowners who, given the correct information, tell the professionals to go ahead anyway.
That led to a conversation on who handles Riparian Area Regulations (RAR).
Senior planner Dan Passmore explained, where there is no building permit regimen in place, the only mechanism that applies is board approval.
“Without an approval from CSRD, it’s basically a self-policing thing,” Passmore said. “But no development is supposed to be happening within 30 metres of the high water mark.”
To Area D Falkland/Salmon Valley/Ranchero director Rene Talbot’s comment that the province advises they will not enforce RAR rules on private land, Christie advised in areas where there is no OCP, the province is indeed required to enforce their own rules.
“It is not up to us to do something if we don’t have an OCP,” he said.
Area F North Shuswap director Larry Morgan said there is a prevailing attitude in his electoral area to go ahead and worry about the consequences afterward.
Area C south Shuswap director Paul Demenok agreed and suggested the board look at including funding for educating the public on the development process in upcoming budget discussions.
“In Area C, we seem to spend a lot of time on bylaw enforcement issues, things that could have been nipped in the bud,” he said.
Area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin suggested composing a list of questions to hand out to people who are panning on developing a property within regional district borders.