While many factors that have initially riled residents have been resolved, there are still neighbourhood concerns over a proposed new subdivision development in the Hart.
Residents adjacent to the Valleyview Lands came out en masse to Monday night's city council meeting for the public hearing on the proposal to amend the Official Community Plan and rezone land east of Dawson Road and south of Austin Road East into single-family neighbourhoods.
Council approved third reading of the application, but final reading will not be given until a servicing brief is prepared and a traffic-impact study carried out. Administration is also calling for a geotechnical overview to "provide confirmation that the future development of the properties will not affect the slope stability and drainage of the subject properties." The overview will also determine if the soil can accommodate sewage disposal for the intended rural residential lots.
Coun. Lyn Hall said he hoped the communication would be kept up between the proponent and the neighbours, who are apprehensive about the plan for a number of reasons.
At the top of their list of concerns was for the wildlife that would be displaced by the new homes.
Margaret Bolduc said she and her husband have documented a variety of wildlife that comes through their property every year, including the same bear families, demonstrating the territorial nature of the animals.
"Where would they go?" she asked, echoing a frequent request for a full wildlife assessment of the subject properties.
L&M Engineering community planner Claire Negrin acknowledged that a full wildlife assessment - the type the neighbours were calling for - was not completed.
"It was a drainage assessment that included the wildlife portion," she said. "The report suggested some displacement of these species would occur."
Hall wondered if the requirements around the need for a wildlife study had been adequately communicated to the residents.
"For me, it's about the communication piece. We're learning that very quickly around this table," he said. "If a wildlife assessment needed to be, and has been conducted, has that been parlayed to those folks that are concerned about it?"
Director of planning Ian Wells said the drainage study didn't identify any concerns pertaining to wildlife or endangered species that upon which his department wanted more information.
"One thing to consider is 60 per cent of the area will remain undeveloped and it's phased in. Besides this area, there's a large tracts of vacant land that run throughout the whole area," he said.
The review, conducted by Triton Environmental Consultants, didn't mention a wide variety of animals in the area, said Dianne Gagne. She also took issue with the study's lack of attention to non-fish bearing streams.
Negrin also addressed concerns about the impact the development would have on area schools. Residents have pointed to nearby Glenview elementary already being over capacity.
"[School District 57] is not concerned with the potential increase this development represents," Negrin said, adding the district calculated there would be .25 children per household, totaling 45 young people by the time the subdivision is completely developed.
"Considering this development will be phased and the rate of construction will be gradual, the student intake is not expected to exceed the rate of decline the schools are currently seeing," Negrin noted. "And the school district also considers other factors, such as outlying schools."