Letter: Township jumped the gun on Brookswood sites

Resident questions work being done on Township properties.

Dear Editor,

Just over two months have passed since the amended 2017 OCP was defeated. A week from today there will be a second attempt by TOL council to pass it.

In the meantime, some disturbing occurrences have taken place. One would have hoped that in this interval between votes, there would not have been new development activity on TOL public lands. Many residents had hoped that these properties would be preserved as parks or other purposes for the public good. However, the TOL has jumped the gun in at least two instances.

One is a parcel of land, at 205th Street and 33rd Avenue, is currently a farm. In mid August a development proposal sign appeared, saying the Alpin and Martin Consultants Ltd. had applied to rezone the property from suburban residential to single family. This would be comprised of twenty-four 7,000 sq. ft. lots. Any hope that this land might remain in a natural state has been dashed.

The other is the large TOL property between 196th Street and 200th Street, and approximately 26th Avenue and 27th Avenue. In the 1987 OCP, a large area was designated as park, and the remainder, service commercial. In the 2017 OCP the entire area is designated as single family 3 (7,000 sq. ft. lots). The exception is designated as conservation, which protects the Little Campbell River and a large marsh. The policies for conservation areas are:

1. Protect areas designated conservation in accordance with the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Development Permit Area of the Official Community Plan (OCP).

2. Preserve significant tree stands in order to accommodate wildlife. Favourable consideration shall be given to development projects which include provision for significant preservation of forests, such as clustered residential developments.

Given that TOL is still operating under the 1987 OCP, I am disturbed that during the summer the land has been the recipient of untold numbers of loads of fill, and has been bulldozed and compacted. I have seen tall conifers that have been stripped of their undergrowth, and now stand alone in a barren stretch of flattened soil. I hear chainsaws buzzing some days. I would not have expected that this would be the way to prepare for a park, and yet, how could it be in the process of becoming a site for single family 3 houses when the proposed 2017 OCP has not yet passed?

Yet more disturbing is that there appear to be beaver traps in the marsh, the area designated as conservation, one of the purposes of which is to protect wildlife. The deer have already mysteriously disappeared from the area, and now the beaver, too? What wildlife is intended to be protected?

If the mayor and cCouncil treat Brookswood-Fernridge and its residents in such a dishonourable manner between the first and (controversial) second vote, then I have little faith in what they will do should this vague and ill-defined plan pass.

Kathy Marsden, Fernridge