The District of Hudson’s Hope is moving ahead with plans to turn a strip of Crown-owned recreational parkland along the highway into a light industrial zone.
Council hosted a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 25, to hear concerns and feedback from the community.
“There were a few people who wanted to understand the process more clearly,” said Tom Matus, chief administrative officer with the district.
“It was generally accepted that the industrial site is needed in the community,” he added, but some residents were concerned they might not be able to access a horse trail that runs through the northern side of the 18-hectare parcel.
Matus said in an interview that the trail will still be accessible, and that there is ample Crown land in the vicinity for recreational use.
Industrial land, however, is in short supply.
“(There’s a need) for a good location for industrial land, yes there is. I think everybody understands that,” Matus said.
“Business would like to be on a highway, and that’s mainly what it is, accessibility, and easier to advertise their business.”
Although Matus wouldn’t say who is interested in setting up shop on the parcel of land, he indicated “there’s some interest.”
Prior to the hearing, the district received 18 written submissions, 15 of which were in support of the change and three against.
“Good idea, will free up heavy trucks parking in town and provide (perhaps) a fuel station with reasonable prices,” wrote resident Ty Olsen.
Lori Fox also wrote in to say she believed having an area for light industrial use would keep businesses out of residential areas, and “hopefully will increase industry to our town.”
Resident James Rhymer, however, was opposed to the zoning change.
“Once you start changing zoning from recreational to industrial you are saying that industry is more important than recreation. That is what is happening to our river,” he wrote.
Hudson’s Hope has been working towards the acquisition of land and zoning change for six months, according to Matus.
The district received a Crown Grant Offer, and in order to move ahead with purchasing the land, the district had to comply with conditions outlined in the offer. One of those stipulations was rezoning the parcel.
Council formally did this after the hearing on Jan. 25, when they did the third and final reading to amend the zoning and Official Community Plan bylaws, and adopted the amendments.
The next step is for the district to send back the signed offer to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations saying they accept the terms and have complied with the stipulations.
It’s then up to the ministry to decide whether or not to go ahead with selling the land to Hudson’s Hope, and to name a price.