Sparwood council elected to defer the decision to approve development variance permits (DVP) that would allow Spardell Mobile Home Park to expand.
Had the DVP moved forward, owner Rick Pater would be permitted to build new portions of the park to lower standards than modern building expectations in order to suit the rest of the park, which was originally constructed in the ‘70s.
Due to concerns that Pater had not complied with staff suggestions to reinvest funds he would save into beautification options for the park, council chose to delay the decision until the next council meeting dated Aug. 17.
“Staff are not in support of the variance, primarily because the owner has not come forward with additional opportunities to reinvest money into the mobile home park to improve its livability beyond the water distribution system,” said Manager of Planning Nelson Wight.
Pater responded, “Mr. Wight has made six suggestions and quite honestly the only one that’s practical is landscaping in the park. I’m very happy to show anybody about 150 trees in the park that you can’t notice because they’re so small right now. But if there is any further interest in landscaping, I’m more than happy to provide.”
Pater said that his primary focus is transferring the park from a private water distribution system to the municipal system.
Currently, Phase 1 of Pater’s water system plan is complete and Units #1-24 are hooked up to town water.
Since the last council meeting when the DVPs were discussed, no further pads have been added to the district’s water supply, despite the schedule Pater brought forward to council on June 15.
At that time, Pater said that Phase 2 of the plan, which would have seen units #25-60 shifted off of the park’s private supply, was meant to be complete by the end of June.
By mid-July, plans for a dozen units (#61-66 and #69-74) in Phase 3 of the plan had already fallen short.
Pater said that Phase 2 is currently pending approval from Interior Health and that an engineer had requested modifications on the plan.
“I’m anticipating approval this week,” Pater said. “I’m very anxious to get this done. I will put the rest of the park on town water using existing infrastructure and I have every intention of finishing that this year.”
Mayor Cal McDougall first proposed deferring the expansion decision.
Addressing Pater, the mayor said, “There has been understanding that there has been discussions with you in terms of the playground and landscaping. I wonder if it would be prudent to deny this motion and deny the DVP so that more things can be ironed out for Mr. Pater to do and gives Mr. Pater better opportunity to move forward with Phase 2 of the distribution system.”
The park itself has been plagued by water issues for months, though Pater states that through bi-weekly testing he has concluded that no contaminants reside in the park’s waters and that the primary water problem for the park was that of pressure.
“Since decommissioning the old pipes the park now has ample pressure and I have not received any complaints in regards to leaks or sediment in the water,” Pater said. “Everything is very stable at this point.”
Outspoken residents such as Mary Jane Leppard, who was in attendance at Monday night’s hearing, have stated otherwise, describing water that is murky and discoloured.
Coun. Jenna Jensen, who is opposed to approving the expansion, said that until complaints from residents regarding the park’s water quality were fully resolved, she would remain against the DVP’s approval.
“I’m not sure a couple weeks deferral will allow the things that I, or the people [of the park], feel should be fixed will be fixed,” said Jensen. “I strongly feel that the park should be brought to a livable standard for the people who currently live there before it’s expanded forward. I understand the business aspect of it and more homes are beneficial to new residents but I don’t think that should come before the people who currently live there and have been living there who have been going through all these things.”
Jensen noted that amongst the list of livability improvements that could be made to the park which previously included a new sign, covered bus shelter and repaving, that a park for the families who reside there would be beneficial.
Citing Pater’s delayed plan to connect the park’s 125 pads to the district’s water supply, Jensen added, “For only 25 out of 100 [pads] to be on town water, I just don’t feel like that is quite enough for me.”
Coun. John Bauer concurred and added, “Water should not be classified as an improvement of the park but as a part of doing business. I would have to see a significant amount of improvement before I consider accepting this DVP.”
The motion to defer was passed 4-2 with Jensen and Coun. Margaret McKie opposing.
With the motion to defer, the call for another informal hearing is waived and a notice will not be sent out to residents when the discussion is picked up once more next month.