PORT ALICE— After a series of negotiations, the Village of Port Alice has passed a motion to enter into an agreement with Brookfield Residential.
The developer is proposing to build a subdivision on Alice Lake close to the Link River Regional Campsite. At the Council’s previous meeting Doug Leighton, Brookfield’s Director of Planning for Vancouver Island, presented a proposal that would see Brookfield undertake the funding of improvements to Link River Campgrounds to address Council’s concerns with the project.
At last week’s meeting Councillors received a written offer from Brookfield to fund Council’s requests and an offer to donate a parcel of land adjacent to the existing campground, which would expand and open access to the currently unused southern part of the park.
The property at Link River is owned by the Village of Port Alice and managed by the Regional District of Mt. Waddington.
Brookfield has received pre-approval on a plan to divide an almost 85-hectare site surrounding the park into seventeen property lots, which would then be sold to housing developers.
The pre-approval was contingent on approval from the Village of Port Alice, which was given after council reviewed the updated offer last week.
In his letter of proposal, Leighton described the arrangement as a “win-win” situation for both parties.
The offer addressed four key issues identified in the previous meeting; legalizing and upgrading the existing campsite access road, increasing parking facilities in preparation for an anticipated increase in the use of the existing boat ramp, access issues with three of the lots, and the land donation.
Brookfield agreed to dedicate a 20-metre public road through its property to connect the campsite to the SE Main, the current access road. The Village of Port Alice was asked to provide an easement to the three lots whose access was in question, with the developer paying for surveying and costs. Brookfield offered to gift 1.54 Ha to the Village, expanding the campsite by 10 per cent and potentially opening access to the currently unused southern portion of the park.
To address the other issues of road improvement and increased parking Brookfield offered $30,000 — $8,000 more than estimates to cover contingencies and project management— to fund the Village in addressing these concerns. By donating funds instead of directly tackling the issues, Brookfield suggested that the Village will retain control over the projects, and also allow Council to leverage the funds to gain other monies from governmental grants.
Council can also make use of local resources to stretch the budget further. Councillor Dave Stewart, a professional faller, offered his expertise at no charge as a service to community.
The Regional District, which manages the Link River Campgrounds, was also behind the project. Economic Development Manager Neil Smith pointed out there was an opportunity to take advantage of the heavy equipment being on-site. Smith noted that many improvements to the area could be carried out more economically if the RDMW were able to take advantage of the available machinery.
The RDMW signaled its approval of Brookfield’s proposal to Port Alice Council and is prepared to undertake the improvements in the spring of 2013.
Council agreed to the proposal and to send a letter to Leighton asking for an agreement to include the described undertakings whereupon the Village would notify the Provincial Approving Officer of its satisfaction with the project.
Free camping denied
Also discussed at the meeting was the upcoming Slo-pitch tournament and camping arrangements.
Organizer Jason Roper came before Council at the behest of some of the competitors in this year’s tournament, who contacted him to ask about camping in the town.
Roper explained that every year the Lions Club holds a beer garden at the event, but competitors who travel to the event and stay in Link River Campgrounds need a designated driver to take advantage. In recent years, he explained, the organizers had to pay the Lions to break even on costs.
Some of the teams had contacted him about camping at the side of the road, thereby avoiding the drive. Roper pointed to the Rumblefest mountain biking event and to visitors who camped near the school and Legion during that event and wondered if Council would agree to allow the same during the slo-pitch tourney.
Acting Mayor Janice MacLeod was unable to grant his reques,t however. The roadside campers during the bike event were doing so without permission, she informed Roper, and there was a zero-tolerance policy for drinking in public within the Village.
She also pointed to local businessman Ozzie Vezina, who runs a campground in the Village, and stated that it would be unfair to him to grant free camping as well as the liability issue that such a decision would create.
“That’s fine,” said Roper. “People have been asking us and I’m just looking for clarification.”
“We’d love to accomodate you but we just can’t,” said MacLeod. The Acting Mayor did, however, have some suggestions for Roper.
She recommended approaching the Legion to ask if teams could camp on their property, and also suggested the option of applying for a porta-potty if the Legion approved. Another option was to run a shuttle service to the Link River site.
Roper thanked Council for its time and said his next move would be to contact the Legion.
In the Administrator’s Report to Council, Madeline McDonald updated Council on the progress of several projects in the Village and recommended an update to the traffic bylaws.
The changes to the bylaw are needed to deal with unlicensed vehicles that are parked on Village property. While the Village has attempted to contact the owners of the vehicles to have them voluntarily moved or relicensed, results have been disappointing thus far.
McDonald recommended the changes to the dated bylaw to update the powers that Village staff have to deal with non-compliance.
Councillor Marc Brackett agreed in principal with the need to modernize the bylaw but questioned whether the changes were an urgent priority at a time when Council has so many issues pending.
After assurances that the revised wording of the bylaw would take some time to draft, and that the changes would provide necessary tools to Village staff to deal with the parking issue, the motion was unanimously approved.