Following nearly two years of community consultation, the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors has given third reading to the Baynes Lake Official Community Plan and the South Country Zoning Bylaw.
“This has been a thorough process and is the product of extensive community consultation and input,” says RDEK Electoral Area B Director, Heath Slee. “Our planning staff have worked closely with the community and have crafted a bylaw that creates a vision for future growth, development and conservation in the Baynes Lake area.”
As with any new Official Community Plan process, there were many issues that were raised by the community and discussed as part of the consultation process. A contentious issue was the existence of RV parks within the Plan area that had not received the required Non-Farm Use approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). A recent decision by the ALC to reconsider the Non-Farm Use applications resulted in their approval and this decision is reflected in the policies of the Official Community Plan and in the Zoning Bylaw.
Through the public hearing process held late last month, stakeholders provided many comments regarding the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw. “Of comments received from residents and registered land owners within the plan boundaries, 65 per cent were in favour of adopting the bylaws,” explains Slee. “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to be involved and engaged in the process. These plans are a major undertaking, and having the community involved and participating every step of the way is critical.”
Many residents indicated that they felt it was important to identify a vision for the future of Baynes Lake. “The Baynes Lake area has been un-zoned, so there have been few development regulations in place and almost no opportunity for public input on development proposals,” adds Slee. “Having an OCP and Zoning Bylaw in place will provide direction and ensure the public has an opportunity for input into future land use decision making.”
The Zoning Bylaw will now be submitted to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. It’s expected both Bylaws will be back before the RDEK Board for adoption in August.