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Plan passes initial readings

Directors agree to send draft to public hearing

Powell River Regional District rural directors passed the initial readings of the official community plan (OCP) for Electoral Areas B and C, but not without some resistance.

Ted Belyea, alternate for Area B Director Stan Gisborne, voted in opposition to the first and second readings at the May board meeting.

Belyea said while he wasn’t totally up to speed on the plan because he was an alternate, he was aware of some issues. “If in doubt, don’t vote for it, was my feeling,” he said.

A resident had contacted him about some concerns, Belyea said, adding he thought the public hearing would sort the issues out.

Directors also voted to hold a public hearing. Area A Director Patrick Brabazon said he was voting in favour of sending it to a hearing because he thought “it’s imperative that we actually hear what the people in areas B and C have to say. I consider the document flawed in some respects, but the planning committee is deadlocked.”

He and Texada Island Director Dave Murphy have voted one way, Brabazon said, while Colin Palmer, board chair and Area C director, and Gisborne have voted another way. “The planning committee cannot come to a resolution and the only way that I can see to break this log jam is to go to a hearing and just find out what people think,” Brabazon said.

While he agreed with Brabazon’s sentiments, Palmer said he didn’t agree they were “totally deadlocked.”

Brabazon said most of the controversy concerned land use designations, the foundation for any OCP. “I have some concerns about what the planning committee in the past has done with regard to land use designations, just a few of them,” he said. “I want to go to a hearing and I want to hear the people.”

One of the issues he was concerned about, Brabazon said, was a property on Stevenson Road that has been designated half heavy industrial and half rural residential in the draft plan. There is a concrete batch plant operating on the property, even though in the existing OCP it is designated low density residential.

Don Turner, regional district senior planner, explained the draft OCP has to be referred to various agencies. He thought the public hearing would be held sometime in the middle of August at the earliest.