Re: Letter to the editor in the January 4 edition of Nelson Star by Mr. Sam Relkoff: “Survey says stop the community plan.”
In 2010 the RDCK held several consultations with the people of Area E, one of which was a survey sent to every landowner. The survey received a 40 per cent response rate which is typically a higher percentage of the public than votes in an election.
As government, we need to provide choices to the public: most particularly when responses to initiatives are not clear about a community’s direction. Blewett, where Mr. Relkoff resides, had the most inconclusive responses to the survey and hence they have received a ballot to provide a response to the question if they are in favour or against a community plan. The other areas had more people respond in favour of planning that the combination of those undecided or against.
The RDCK received 197 responses from Blewett. Mr Relkoff’s letter suggests that the 37 per cent of people in favour of the community plan and the 29.8 per cent that answered “undecided need more information” should not have had the chance to see their concerns addressed in a Draft Community Plan and not had a chance to decide but rather the RDCK should have disbanded the process on the basis of the “no” responses.
Mr. Relkoff, only 26 per cent of Blewett residents said no to a community plan. However 72.1 per cent said “managing growth and development should be an important priority in my community.” rdckareae.inthekoots.com/area-e-west/
To add to the lack of conclusiveness, many responses were in favour of some type of community control over land use such as:
• 64 per cent of Blewett residents that answered the survey said “the regional district should regulate the location, development and operation of industrial and commercial sites.”
• 58 per cent said “the regional district should regulate the location and design of new higher density residential areas.”
• 90.1 per cent said “development on Kootenay Lake should be done in an ecologically sensitive manner.”
The only official way of supporting residents with managing growth is through a Community Plan. We can advocate on behalf of a community but when it comes down to one land owner’s will against the wishes of a community, official tools and up-front clarity in development are often more successful, but I understand this solution is not for everyone. Residents have asked the RDCK to intercede in a number of cases.
The message from Blewett about community planning was mixed and the ballot that Blewett landowners received in the mail in December is due February 1 which will clarify the community’s wishes. The draft community plan was revised to address community input and can be viewed at: rdck.bc.ca/development/planning/projects/area_e_land_use_planning.html.
RDCK Director Area E