Planning Process

Summary and Recommendations

Handshake Holdings Inc. and Bud Nelson have applied to the Regional District of East Kootenay for land use approval (zoning and OCP amendments) to permit development of the Galloway Lands with 75 residential lots. 

The RDEK process for consideration of the application follows the requirements of the Local Government Act and other governing legislation:

  • The application for zoning / OCP amendment submitted to the RDEK.
  • RDEK sends the application for referral to required agencies and affected parties.
  • RDEK staff reviews the application and works with the applicant to refine the application and determine what covenants and other commitments are required to support the application. These additional covenants and other commitments become part of the Request for Decision prepared by RDEK staff and are provided to the Board for consideration at 1st reading of the bylaws. The Request for Decision includes the options available to the Board, an overview of the OCP and zoning policies applicable to the application, and all covenants and other commitments offered by the proponent. These covenants then form part of the requirement for approval of the application by the RDEK Board.
  • 1st and 2nd reading of proposed bylaw is conducted by the RDEK. The application is either approved to proceed to public hearing or is defeated by the Board.
  • The RDEK collects written submissions from the public which comments on the application. 
  • The RDEK schedules a Public Hearing to obtain formal feedback from the public about the application.
  • RDEK staff prepare a Public Hearing Report that is provided to the RDEK Board for consideration at 3rd reading of the bylaws. The Public Hearing Report includes copies of letters submitted by the public as well as a summary of verbal statements made at the public hearing.
  • 3rd Reading of proposed bylaws is conducted by the RDEK. The application is approved or rejected by RDEK Board.
  • The Applicant registers the Development Agreement / Covenants on the title to the lands. Certain covenants can be registered at this stage of the process and others are registered at subdivision. Where possible, covenants are registered at this stage. If a covenant cannot be registered at this stage, the development agreement is a legal requirement to register these covenants at the subdivision stage of the project.
  • MOTI approves bylaws.
  • Adoption of bylaws is completed by the RDEK. Note that this step does not proceed until the development agreement / covenants are registered on title and the proponent provides confirmation of registration to the RDEK (ie. updated titles showing covenant have been registered).
  • The RDEK will again review the covenants and development agreement registered on title at subdivision of the lands to ensure that all commitments are being upheld. Failure to abide by the covenants and development agreement will result in refusal to approve the subdivision. RDEK sign-off is required by MOTI for all subdivisions.

Questions and Answers

We have committed to answering all the questions submitted to us.  Some of the questions submitted are very similar and have been aggregated in the answers below.  Here are the questions and answers regarding the planning process;

1. Where are you currently in the process with the RDEK?

An application for land use amendment has been submitted to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK). The RDEK has sent the application for referral to relevant agencies. The application proceeded to first reading in January where the RDEK Board requested additional information from the applicant to address questions from the public. The applicant is now preparing this additional information and will be resubmitting to the RDEK in the coming months. Once this additional information has been submitted, the application will again proceed to the RDEK Board for 1st and 2nd reading and the RDEK approval process will continue.

2. With regards to First Nations land claims, are there any land claims that may affect this or surrounding area?

As part of our assessment of the property, we engaged an archaeologist that completed a high-level (desktop) review of the property. There are no archaeological sites identified on the property. Further assessment may be required at the subdivision stage of the project.

3. Richard Haworth said earlier this was a resort expansion. Please elaborate.

A large portion of the property proposed for zoning amendment is designated in the RDEK Elk Valley Official Community Plan as “Resort Expansion”. The application submitted to the RDEK is not for resort expansion. It is, however, consistent with the requirements of the OCP.

4. Are there any criteria for climate resilient designs in the buildings being built?

The requirement for energy efficiency in building design has not been formalized at this early stage of the process. However, the RDEK currently requires all new homes to be constructed to Energy Step Code 2. We foresee that all new homes within the Galloway Lands will be constructed to a higher standard than the minimum required by the RDEK.

5. Considering the apparent importance of the RDEK Board to the project assessment and development process, its independence is critical. Are any of the Board members connected, in any way, to this project (ie are conflicted)? Have the conflicts been declared? If there is a conflict, what steps have been taken to address this to maintain confidence in the Board and proper stewardship of its mandate?

The Community Charter conflict of interest rules provide that locally elected officials who have a financial (pecuniary) interest in a matter that will be discussed or voted on at their municipal council or regional district board meetings must declare that interest in the matter. No member of the RDEK Board of Directors has declared a conflict of interest with this project, nor are we aware of any conflict of interest by any member of the RDEK Board of Directors.

6. In order to ensure the wooded areas of the private properties are protected, why not reduce the size of the lots to 1.5 acres and move the rest of the wooded land over to common land/park?

The minimum parcel area required is based on the proposed zoning and provision of onsite wells and septic fields. We believe that the covenants we have committed to implementing will ensure protection of the lands, regardless of ownership.

7. What year was the OCP published for the valley?

The Elk Valley Official Community Plan was adopted by the RDEK in October 2014.

8. Are these lands part of the Agriculture Land Reserve?

No, these lands are not in the Agriculture Land Reserve .

9. Has the approving municipality been lobbied in order to understand whether they have an appetite for this proposed development?

The application has been submitted to the Regional District of East Kootenay. The lands are within the RDEK and as such, the RDEK is the approving authority for this application. The City of Fernie has provided referral comments to the RDEK as part of the application process.

10. What timeframe do you anticipate the first shovel will be in the ground for building?

Based on our current schedule for land use approvals we envision site works for Phase 1 of the community commencing in 2023.

11. I am also really curious about the topography of the land being cleared – are we creating a greater risk of land-slides? Have there been any pre-emptive thoughts on this?

Our assessment of the lands has identified areas of steep topography and these areas have been protected. Development has generally been located on flatter areas of the site. Prior to subdivision approval, a geotechnical assessment of the lands will be completed to ensure that the proposed development does not create a risk of landslide.

12. Does the Development increase the potential for the City of Fernie to annex the lands; as it has attempted in the past with the homes now existing on the Hill?

We are not aware of any attempt by the City of Fernie to annex Fernie Alpine Resort.

13. Why does the Galloway application highlight that some lots on the proposed development are 100m from existing houses when there is an equal number that are located significantly less than 100m from the proposed development? Doesn’t this deceive the public?

We have no intention to deceive anyone, and we believe we have gone to great efforts to provide our planning materials and application to the public via the website and by providing it to various community groups as well as this open house.

The intent of these plans is to illustrate in more detail some of the specific conditions within the property. This particular plan (above) is intended to illustrate the separation of 100m from most of the homes on Highline Drive based on concern we heard from these residents. There are two homesites proposed at the end of Snow Pines Drive that will have a 20m buffer between side yards. Otherwise, all homesites are at least 100m from any existing home at Fernie Alpine Resort.

14. Why does the Galloway application highlight that some lots are 110m from Boardman Creek when there are many proposed lots that are significantly less than 110m from the creek? Doesn’t this deceive the public?

 Again, we have no intention to deceive anyone. The intention of the plan being referenced (below) was to illustrate the Nordic trail over a private lot. Other plans and the text of the application clearly show that lesser setbacks are proposed on other lots. Additionally, the plan on the left with each of these details clearly shows where the detail is from and surrounding conditions. No information is being withheld.  All of the setback information is available to the public.

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