Proposed Highland access a worry to Fieldstone residents
By Stephanie Stevens
Sometimes buyer beware is a tough nut.
Several Invermere residents addressed District of Invermere (DOI) council at its regular scheduled meeting Nov. 26 to voice their concerns regarding a variance for a proposed road which would run right past their backyards.
The group, comprised of people who live in Fieldstone Glen on 14A Crescent, was represented by fellow resident Shelley McKersie who read a letter outlining their objections.
“We have had a site review from Richard Haworth, who is working with the developer of Highland Crossing, and now understand where this access road to this development will be placed,” read McKersie. “This proposed road and sidewalk are directly on the property line and comes within 20 feet of our back decks, leaving no room for any kind of a buffer zone. We feel this will greatly impede our privacy.”
The letter went to add the residents “strongly urge the mayor, councillors and Director of Development services to come and view the site and see how extremely invasive this access road is to our seniors’ complex. We ask that you explore other options including access from the Beach Road, which wouldn’t encroach on anyone’s privacy. We would like to request a meeting to address our concerns regarding this proposed road.”
McKersie later added that six of the eight Fieldstone Glen homes will be directly affected by the road.
“My one neighbor said, ‘So I will have to put a mask on to BBQ?’” she said. “You cannot tell me there will not be a lot of dust created by the traffic. These are retirement homes; it is a quiet area. These are forever, permanent homes.”
McKersie said they are in no way opposed to the development itself, just the placement of its access road.
“It is awful that they would allow something like this. We are not trying to stop the build, but we would like to stop where they are putting the road,” she said. “There is no room for a row of trees or a fence. If we did (put up a fence) it would be right up against our decks. There are plans for a sidewalk as well, so people will be going right past our decks.”
Rory Hromadnik, Director of Development Services for the DOI, said while he understands the concerns of the residents, the developer is entitled to make the application.
“It is process. The application has been made, referrals were sent out, letters received and given to council… and this is different than changing density, for example, as there is no public hearing for something like this,” said Hromadnik. “But council has all the information so they can really stew on it and then the decision will be made at their meeting next week.”
Hromadnik said he was aware there have been a couple of field reviews with Haworth Development Consulting with the Fieldstone Glen residents.
“Technically there is nothing insurmountable there… it is just the decision based on what council feels is right or not.”
As to the suggestion by the Fieldstone Glen residents that the developer access 7th Ave. instead, Hromadnik said it is tricky, regarding as to how busy the area already is.
“On paper, there is access all the way down 7th Ave. to the beach, but it has been policy and direction that we don’t want to add to the kerfuffle on Beach Drive. Outside of the downtown core, that is the busiest pedestrian route by far. Any given event it typically involves the beach and there is parking all the way up the road, so in summer it is a congested area a lot of the time and we have been avoiding having traffic coming off of it.”
Hromadnik added the DOI does have a right-of-way for laneway access and the developer has achieved that, so from a technical point of view it is covered by the bylaw.
“There were previous land deals made that made Fieldstone Glen what it is today and the price for that was they knew that road was going to be close at some point. Yes, it was 20 years ago, and these people maybe didn’t know about it, but unfortunately that’s where buyer beware rears its head.”