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City council considering rezoning for ‘complex’ Quinsam Road development

Project would provide diversity of housing forms and densities; area features wetlands and creeks
A map showing the approximate extent of two properties (in green) proposed as the site of a new ‘clustered’ residential development south of Quinsam Road in Campbell River. Google Maps 2021.

A plan for a new residential development south of Quinsam Road is proceeding, with city council considering a rezoning application required for its construction.

The proposed development is sited on two private properties totalling about 46 hectares in area. Its plan features multiple forms, including single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses, and a low-rise apartment, to provide 350 to 400 living units.

These properties are currently zoned as rural residential (comprising the bulk of the site) and commercial. This means a bylaw to rezone the property into multiple residential land use zones is required for the development to proceed.

Campbell River city council approved the first and second reading of this bylaw in its Dec. 13 meeting. There will be an online public hearing held before the city council considers a third reading of the bylaw.

The proposal is “complex,” as the property is large, surrounded by residential areas, and contains environmental features, including wetlands, streams, steep slopes and forests, city planner Lyndsay MacKenzie said in the meeting.

“In terms of environmentally-sensitive areas on the site, wetlands and streams make up a significant portion of the site,” said Mackenzie.

However, the different density and forms in the plan allow for “cluster development,” and “supports the maintenance of environmental features on the site,” she said. A map of the proposed development shows several distinct development areas arranged so they mostly fall outside environmental setbacks from these features.

Throughout the application process, the developer has consulted with Greenways Land Trust, which has provided recommendations to minimize the environmental impact of the project. Greenways president Kimberley Toonders, in a Dec. 2 letter to council, said the organization has been appreciative of this “respectful and interactive process initiated by the developer.”

Greenways is concerned about habitats and species in the area.

“This proposed development contains one of the largest wetlands in Campbell River, and two branches of Haig-Brown Kingfisher Creek — a salmon-bearing stream — run through it,” said Toonders, in the letter. “It is home to the blue-listed red-legged frog and nesting great horned owls, a notable species in the urban environment of Campbell River.”

Greenways notes one of the lots backs on to a part of Kingfisher Creek used by coho salmon for spawning and juvenile rearing. For this reason, it has asked it remain undeveloped.

Coun. Claire Moglove said in the Dec. 13 meeting she, too, is concerned that part of the development appears to fall within the setback buffer of the creek.

“I think that might be one of the bones of contention moving forward,” said Moglove.

A 10-metre setback would be required from the creek at minimum, said Mackenzie.

Moglove then said the development could be an exciting project for Campbell River.

“I like the idea of having lots of different types of housing possibilities, which is, especially with the manufactured homes, something that we’re lacking in the city,” she said.

The applicant is also proposing community amenity contributions, including $100,000 for parkland improvements and $50,000 to Greenways to fund stewardship activity in the area.

A city-led neighbourhood public meeting was waived because of the pandemic. But the applicant held a meeting on Dec. 10, which had 17 attendees, whose concerns included traffic generation and environmental impacts, said MacKenzie.

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City considering changes to steep slope, wildlife tree development rules

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