BEAVER VALLEY – District approves ATCO rezoning request

Homeowner Jim Seminuk, whose home back onto the rezoned property, was disappointed in the decision-making process

If Jim Seminiuk could say anything to the regional district board, it would be that its decision-making process needs to change.

Seminiuk attended the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB) full board of directors meeting Thursday and within minutes heard a decision that could seal the fate of his family’s two acres of serene pasture and quaint home located in Area A adjacent to ATCO Wood Products.

“If I could stand up and say anything it would be to recommend a process more friendly to the people the district is affecting,” he said. “I know what you are doing is all legal and above the board but you should have had a look at my property before you made a decision,” said Seminiuk. “Instead of sitting back and talking about it, come and see for yourself how this affects me.”

The board approved ATCO’s application to re-designate two parcels of the company’s wildland, located 41 feet from Seminiuk’s back deck, from rural residential  to industrial, granting the softwood veneer producer the go-ahead to proceed with land use change.

“What it boils down to is the board voted on something that they can’t even visualize other than a plot on a map,” he continued. “Now I have no recourse other than to deal with the company on a one-to-one basis and hope my property doesn’t become unlivable.”

The amending bylaws were read and adopted, confirmed Ali Grieve, Area A director.

“No one can attend the board meeting to speak to any issues ever after the public hearing happens according to provincial law,” she said. “Once the public hearing is over, public input is over.”

Re-zoning the properties is the first step in the process for ATCO to develop the properties, after an application was made to the regional district that was reviewed by the Area A planning committee, advertised in the Trail Times and an opportunity for public comment during a Sept. 23 hearing.

The ATCO property falls under the development permit zone,explained Grieve.

“This permit has been put in place in order to address and help mitigate possible negative impacts to adjacent property owners.”

ATCO has been at its current location for over 50 years, injecting nearly $25 million into the economy and providing over 100 jobs, said Scott Weatherford, ATCO’s chief executive officer (CEO).

“We’re happy that ATCO’s rezoning application continues to work through the established process for approval,” said the CEO. “We understand that the process is moving forward and we look forward to working with the RDKB staff to complete the rezoning of the subject properties in due course.”

Aside from the public hearing, part of the review process included input from potentially interested agencies from the provincial ministries responsible for highway and infrastructure, habitat and environment; and parties such as Kootenay Boundary fire rescue and the Village of Fruitvale.

To date, only the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation (habitat) expressed concern about potential development in the riparian area of Beaver Creek, noting any proposed expansion would likely require Water Act authorization.

“I’ve watched wildlife galore pass through this area including beavers who inspect the trees, moose and a wooded area down by the creek where deer nest and birth,” said Seminiuk. “I talked to Scott after the meeting and he said they will try to best mitigate any effects on me. But by getting this passed, they’ve devalued my land.”

The retired Teck Trail Operations employee is the last homeowner along with wife Jean, residing on Hepburn Drive, which is a roadway that is only accessible by driving through the ATCO operations.

Three months ago, Seminiuk received an unexpected phone call from a realty agency offering to appraise his property, saying “ATCO is in a position to buy you out.”

“What that says to me is they want me out,” he explained. “It’s not fair to me and I am not soliciting to sell. But this move makes my land even less desirable for anybody else.”

Just Posted

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read