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‘Tough decision, I think not,’ says Trail resident

Letter to the Editor from Terry McDonnell
A rendering of the proposed Birchwood development.

On Jan. 10, 2022, Trail city council, by a 6 to 1 vote, amended Bylaw #2910 (Zoning Bylaw) and Bylaw #2911 (Community Plan Bylaw) to allow for re-zoning of land from R2 (Single Family/Two Family Residential) to R8 (High Density Multiple Family Residential).

As a result of these two amendments a 45-Multiple Resident Building was approved for Birchwood Drive.

As it was, the city plan indicated further development of 16 units on Birchwood Drive; 27 units in total since my wife and I moved into our house in 2011.

Local residents were aware of this type of continued development.

So why the sudden change in plan to include a 45-unit, high density building?

Was the developer not going to make enough profit in the original plan?

Was the developer concerned about the “bottom line” and would not develop the area unless he could put in a larger building and make more money?

How would the City of Trail benefit?

More units, more taxes.

When do you follow an Official Community Plan?

When it’s convenient?

Section 7.1 (“Residential”) of the City of Trail Official Community Plan (Bylaw No. 2471) lays out the regulations to follow for residential housing. Aspects of 7.1.1 (Background), 7.1.2(.6) (Residential – General Polices) and 7.1.6(.3) (Multiple Residential) were not followed.

The city did not remain sensitive to the character of the Birchwood Drive portion of the Waneta/Rock Island Neighborhood.

The development is not compatible in density, scale and mass with the adjacent units.

At the end of the day was it a “tough decision”?

A very clear message was sent by Trail city council to its citizens — send in all the petitions, verbal opposition and written submissions — we will do what we want!

We will also follow bylaws when we want to!

When the dust flies, the noise becomes unbearable, compacting makes you sick, the sewer backs up and we no longer have any water pressure, remember; the City of Trail has no liability!

The City of Trail is made up of citizens and “what is in the best interest of the citizens is in the best interest of the City of Trail.”

Terry McDonnell

Birchwood Drive resident