Conservancy

Summary and Recommendations

The design and development of the Galloway Lands is rooted in the application of Conservation Design principles. Conservation Design is an alternative approach to conventional rural development. While new forms ofConservation Design are still developing, its most common tool remains conservation subdivision design.

Future development of lands within this part of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is guided by the Elk Valley Official Community Plan (OCP), the region’s long term strategic planning document. The OCP supports and recommends Conservation Design as its preferred planning approach to achieve its goals of accommodating growth while maintaining rural character, recreation and conservation.

A report has been completed by Environmental Design Group with the following purpose:

  • Summarize the policy context for the Galloway Lands and the Official Community Plan’s emphasis on ‘conservation subdivision design’;
  • Provide an overview of the principles and practice of Conservation Design;
  • Confirm that Conservation Design is widely considered as planning best practice;
  • Highlight why Conservation Design was recommended in the Elk Valley Official Community Plan;
  • Describe how this approach was applied to the Galloway Lands site; and
  • Outline potential outcomes of this approach.

The report can be read in full here. In general, the report finds that Conservation Design is the preferred approach to development in the region and that this design and approach to subdivision for the Galloway Lands are consistent with the principles of Conservation Design.

The report also points out that effective conservation must go beyond the design stage, noting that damage to the environment during construction and post-construction must be avoided and mitigated. It suggests that potential and confirmed purchasers should be educated in how to continue conservation efforts on the site and that this can be ensured by well-structured conservation covenants and an ongoing management body to oversee ongoing conservation efforts.

The application of Conservation Design principles in the design of the subdivision together with the ongoing stewardship of the lots and common areas create a long-term approach to ensuring that growth is accommodated while maintaining rural character, protecting key conservation areas, and enhancing recreation opportunities; goals that the Elk Valley OCP has laid out when considering development in the region.

Conservation means development as much as it does protection.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Conservancy Questions and Answers

We take your questions seriously and have addressed them prior to moving forward with our next project submission. 

Our intentions are to serve the community and the environment to the highest standard with transparency and accountability.

See our answers to your Conservation questions here:

1. What is Conservation Design?

Conservation Design is an alternative approach to conventional rural development. While new forms of Conservation Design are still developing, its most common tool remains through conservation subdivision design. It can be summarized as an approach to laying out subdivisions so that a significant percentage of buildable uplands is permanently protected in such a manner as to create interconnected networks of conservation lands.

The Elk Valley OCP directly references the book Conservation Design for Subdivisions (1996) as a guide and key planning criterion for rural development and land use amendments. This book established both the metrics and a step-by-step process for conservation subdivision design. The planning of the Galloway Lands followed these steps and meets these metrics.

2. What measures are being taken to protect wildlife?

Development of the Galloway Lands includes a commitment to protect over 70% of the property in a natural state. We are also proposing covenants that will limit any attractants to wildlife (ie. compost, garbage, fruit trees) and restrict fencing that will limit movement of wildlife.

3. The Riparian Areas Regulation should be considered as the minimum standard for protection of Lizard Creek. What is being provided to ensure protection of this watercourse?

The Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR) was enacted under Section 12 of what is now the Riparian Areas Protection Act. The RAPR calls on local governments to protect riparian areas during residential, commercial, and industrial development by ensuring that a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) conducts a science-based assessment of proposed activities. The purpose of the regulation is to protect the many and varied features, functions, and conditions that are vital for maintaining stream health and productivity, including:

  • Sources of large organic debris, such as fallen trees and tree roots;
  • Areas for stream channel migration;
  • Vegetative cover to help moderate water temperature;
  • Provision of food, nutrients, and organic matter to the stream;
  • Stream bank stabilization; and
  • Buffers for streams from excessive silt and surface run-off pollution.

While the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation is applicable in certain areas of the province, it is not applicable in the Regional District of East Kootenay.

Under RAPR, the Riparian Assessment Area is 30 metres on either side of a stream if the bank slopes are less than 3:1. If the bank slopes are greater than 3:1 the stream is defined as occurring within a ravine. Based on these parameters differing setback requirements must be met.

The setbacks proposed for Lizard Creek within the Galloway Lands exceed the requirements of the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation. Under RAPR a QEP report is not required for work outside of the Riparian Assessment Area.

4. Will continued public access be permitted?

The Galloway Lands are enjoyed by Fernie residents and visitors to access the Nordic ski trails, bike trails and walking trails. We estimate that, at the present time, in excess of 40,000 individual users utilize the property for some form of recreational activity every year as both a destination and as part of a larger inter-connected trail network providing access to Fernie Alpine Resort, The Cedars community, and Mount Fernie Provincial Park.

Currently, there is no formal arrangement permitting long-term access to these private lands. We are proposing to formalize use of the property and the trail system to ensure public access to the property and to further develop the existing trail system. To ensure long-term access we are proposing a covenant to permit public access to large parts of the lands. The covenant proposed will permit the public the right to pass by foot, ski, snowshoe, or bicycle over dedicated lands within the project. The corridors where these accesses are proposed will be protected by a statutory right of way to be registered on the lands to ensure continued public access. This regie will also protect the Nordic ski loop and related trails. This covenant, registered in favour of the RDEK, would permit on-going public access to over 50% of the property. The proposed covenant would be similar to the covenant registered over the Island Lake Lodge property in favour of the Regional District of East Kootenay.

5. Who will pay for new trails and trail maintenance as well as maintenance on common areas of the Galloway Lands?

We are proposing to establish a newly formed legal entity, such as a not-for-profit Society, funded by the sale of homesites and homes within the Galloway Lands, that will contribute to planning, construction and maintenance of Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking, and walking trails within the Galloway Lands, including connectivity to neighbouring properties as well as to conservation projects within the Galloway Lands.

       The Galloway Lands Recreation Fund will provide financial assistance for:

  • The design, construction, and maintenance of recreational walking trails, cycling trails, snowshoeing trails and Nordic skiing trails and associated amenities, buildings, and structures within the project.
  • Conservation and environmental stewardship efforts within the Galloway Lands.

The Fund shall be created from the sale of residential property within the Galloway Lands as follows:

  • The initial (first) sale of a Residential Lot shall be subject to a fee of 2% of the sale price to be contributed to the Fund from the proceeds of the that sale.
  • Any subsequent sale of a Residential Lot shall be subject to a fee of 1% of the sale price to be contributed to the Fund.

The Fund will be administered by a newly formed legal entity such as a not-for-profit Society registered in BC. This entity shall have a mandate that restricts use of the funds as outlined above.

The goal of this fund is to ensure that the trail system within the project is designed, constructed, and maintained to the highest standard in perpetuity.

6. What restrictive covenants are proposed?

There are a series of covenants proposed that will limit certain uses on the property while ensuring continued public access to the lands.  Covenants have been grouped into three categories:

1.   Those covenants that are normally dealt with by RDEK Planning Staff at subdivision of a property and include the following:

a.     Limit the total number of residential units constructed on the Lands to not more than 75 single family dwellings.

b.     Restrict permitted uses within the PG-2 zoned lands to park and conservation uses.

c.     Prohibit two-family dwellings within the RR-1 zoned lands.

d.     Within those parts of the Lands zoned PG-2, and those parts of the Lands zoned RR-1 over which a statutory right of way will be registered for public access.

e.     Wildfire covenant.

2.   Those covenants that require long-term administration and oversight will be registered in favour of the not-for-profit Society that will oversee the Galloway Lands Recreation Fund or the Homeowner Association. The RDEK will continue to be named on these covenants as a backstop to prevent discharge by the covenant holder but will not provide administration or enforcement of the covenant terms unless the RDEK chooses to do so.

a.     Restrict the type of horticultural uses permitted within the RR-1 zoned lands.

b.     No build covenant within the Lizard Creek corridor.

c.     No build covenant within the remainder of the PG-2 zoned lands.

d.     Provide a “no-build” covenant over that part of each building lot that is outside of the Building Envelope.

3.   Covenants held by other government agencies (ie. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure):

a.     Provide an SRW to allow for future construction of a road connecting the Cedars development to Fernie Alpine Resort. The SRW provided shall follow an alignment that permits construction of a future connector road at the discretion of MOTI.

b.     Complete a Transportation Impact Assessment to the satisfaction of the Ministry.

7. How does a covenant violation get addressed?

The RDEK will be responsible for enforcement of covenants registered solely in its name (see above list of covenants). Similarly, the MOTI will be responsible for enforcement of covenants in its name.

Covenants registered in favour of the HOA or Galloway Lands Recreation Fund Society will be administered by those entities. The RDEK will also be named on these covenants so that they cannot be changed or discharged without the RDEK’s consent. The RDEK could also enforce these covenants if the HOA or Galloway Lands Recreation Fund Society does not enforce the covenants to the satisfaction of the RDEK.

Regardless of the enforcement mechanisms put in place, it is our goal to develop the Galloway Lands in a manner that enforcement is not required because all purchasers and users of the lands will be doing so with a similar vision that recognizes the importance of conserving the natural areas of the property and public use of the lands.

8. Can you explain further the covenants and the trigger points at which they would be enforced and who enforces them, and how?  

The call to action for enforcement would begin with a report of a violation to the HOA or Galloway Lands Recreation Fund Society (depending on where the covenants are registered). They would then act. See the answer to question 7 for additional thoughts.

Please also be aware that this whole area of discussion is being reviewed for legality and functionality by Reed Pope Law Corporation, our lawyers on this aspect of the development, who will be providing the legal documentation required.

Questions and Answers

Conservancy

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