NANAIMO — City council unanimously shot down residential development plans in a portion of the prized Linley Valley.
Council backed a staff recommendation to deny an official community plan amendment which would have opened the door for housing on 72 acres of forested land on Tanya Dr. near Lost Lake Rd. The amendment would have allowed for 2.5 acre lot.
The resounding decision followed several speakers who criticized the concept, including Susan Juby, founding member of Save Linley Valley's Hidden Ridge, who said it's not consistent with many of the City's land use goals.
“It threatens the ecological integrity of the existing Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park and Lost Lake Park and it poses a host of safety and livability issues to the neighbourhood around it.”
Juby said the proposal is the “wrong development in the wrong place.”
Juby informed council more than 2,700 people signed a petition opposing the development plans, with 80 per cent of the backers Nanaimo residents. The petition called on the City to add the 72 acres of land known as Hidden Ridge to the existing Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park.
A City staff report cited a neighbourhood designation for the property presented “a number of significant issues that would have to be addressed.” Those challenges included water supply infrastructure and transportation network design.
Broadview Developments Inc. hoped for three Tanya Dr. properties to be moved out of the urban reserve to allow for steep slope residential housing. The exact number of homes proposed wasn't mentioned.
Coun. Bill Bestwick spoke to the importance of preserving the Linley Valley area.
“To protect and preserve the things that are so precious on Vancouver Island, in the heart of Nanaimo, that once gone will never return,” Bestwick said.
Coun. Diane Brennan noted the City already has 1,200 acres of land primed for residential development. She said the Tanya Dr. property is too valuable to be lost to housing.
“I'd like to have our staff begin conversations with the owners to see what kinds of agreements we could make regarding that beautiful piece of property,” Brennan said.
Broadview representative David Steingard told council the property is for sale.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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