The developers who were asking council to rezone an area of Willow Point near Penfield School say they are “very disappointed” their application wasn’t even given its due consideration.
Council recently decided not to give first and second reading to a rezoning proposal for three lots along Penfield Road, citing the community uproar that had been occurring during the consultation process, but Jeanette Laverdure of KLP Construction – the proponent of the application – says she doesn’t understand why they wouldn’t at least hear them out.
“They made their decision without even involving the community,” Laverdure says. “That’s the whole point of a public hearing – to involve the community and invite them to say their part. The neighbours got to say their part, but nobody else got to say anything. What about the rest of Campbell River?”
Laverdure says she and her husband Kent even went around the neighbourhood and personally talked to people about the proposal, and say those in opposition to the proposal were actually in the minority, which they could have shown council if they’d been given the opportunity.
“We have over 200 signatures collected of people who were in favour of what we were trying to do,” Laverdure says. “But we didn’t even get to present that, because council listened to the few people who were loudest.”
And she says those who were “loudest” were also the ones who swayed the rest of the neighbourhood in opposition to something they didn’t even take the time to understand.
“It cost us $50,000 to do all those plans for nobody to even look at it, which is disappointing,” she says. “They came in with their misconceptions and didn’t even look at what was being proposed. Nobody actually even phoned us – our number was right there on the site – and people were giving out information that wasn’t true and people didn’t even check with us. We were hearing all the time when we talked to people and explained what we were trying to do that, ‘oh, I didn’t know that’s what was going in,’ and it’s because they never even asked.”
But even with all the opposition, she expected that at least City Hall would listen, because based on the staff report that was before council, city planners, at least, seemed to think the development was a good idea.
“The proposed zoning will further diversify the range of existing housing forms in the neighbourhood while maintaining the integrity of the R-1 character,” the report read. “The area has a range of housing types including single-family, small-lot single-family, large-lot single-family and townhouse dwellings. The potential dwellings allowed under the proposed zoning would create a cluster of a different type of low-density development in an established neighbourhood and increase housing options, meeting the intent of the housing diversity policies within the SOCP.”
The report also addressed the residents’ concernsd with traffic, parking and noise issues, saying, in part, “the potential increase of up to 23 dwelling units will have minimal impact on the existing road network.”
“I just don’t get it,” Laverdure says. “I don’t get where their heads are. The planners and the engineers were telling them it was a good thing, and they decided not to even hear it.”
For now, however, Laverdure and KLP will continue what they’re doing in terms of developing the area, including clearing and subdividing the lots within the current zoning restrictions.
“And, I mean, we’ll see what happens,” Laverdure says, adding it’s a very real possibility that they come back with another proposal for rezoning the area and are considering filing a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsperson, which investigates complaints about unfair administrative actions.