CCFS opposes Schedule 7 of Cranbrook’s draft OCP
Submitted by Cranbrook Community Forest Society
The Cranbrook Community Forest (CCF) is located in Electoral Area C of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), outside of the City of Cranbrook boundaries. It falls within the jurisdiction of BC Parks & Recreation Sites & Trails.
The City of Cranbrook’s Draft Official Community Plan (OCP) has identified two roads through the CCF (a minor and major). Each road will impair access to the CCF, create safety issues, and greatly devalue this jewel of a regional asset.
No provision for these roads is made in the RDEK Rockyview OCP and they are proposed in isolation from any overall regional transportation planning. Nothing in the body of the text of the draft OCP identifies a need for city expansion to accommodate population growth. Neither has a need been identified to serve nearby rural development. The Gold Creek area is already fully developed with five acre lots and further expansion is unlikely.
How much more will Cranbrook taxpayers have to pay to build and maintain more roads? Will the city be annexing part of the community forest for these roads and more development to help pay for them?
It appears that the intent with the Highway 3 connector is to shuttle people more quickly through the city on 2nd St. S., avoiding the downtown and the Strip.
There is no mention of these roads in the text of the nearly 300 page draft OCP (not something the average citizen would clamour to read.) These proposed roads are not forward thinking. Rather, their suggestion lacks any semblance of vision, value of green spaces, recreational opportunities, active transportation, and social gathering spaces.
The Schedule 7 map with the proposed roads is near the end of the document, which has led to speculation about lack of transparency, or an ulterior motive.
What the document does mention in Parks & Recreation Section 8.2.2 pages 60 – 61:
- j) “Recognize the Cranbrook Community Forest as an important non-motorized recreation asset for the region.”
- m) “Work with the RDEK to establish appropriate zoning designations for the Cranbrook Community Forest that help ensure its long-term protection is supported.” (Note: the current RDEK zoning designation for the CCF is “P-3 Park and Open Space” and it is designated “OSRT Open Space Recreation and Trails” in the Rockyview OCP).
Can you see the contradiction here?
Throughout the draft OCP there are references to “Promote smart growth principles and sustainable infrastructure management practices.” Yet, the proposed road system and water system maps in particular illustrate a definite propensity towards sprawl development. With all the vacant land within the city and the low population growth, this document is a contradiction throughout.
The value of the CCF now and for decades to come, is one of our community’s most precious assets to residents and visitors alike. The CCF has also attracted much needed skilled labour to Cranbrook.
The need for this unsubstantiated provision for major road development through the CCF is unclear, but suggests that it is being used as precursor to revisit the East Hill boundary expansion. This issue was the subject of two costly and divisive challenges that ultimately led to its defeat by referendum in 2009. Twice the Cranbrook Community Forest Society has clashed with the City of Cranbrook over roads and development in the CCF.
The draft OCP contains many elements to encourage responsible growth and development for the benefit of City residents. It is unfortunate this unexplained and unsupported provision would be included to mar this otherwise very positive initiative.
We thought we had finally come to a better working relationship with the city and were beginning to have some trust. Apparently, we were mistaken.
On behalf of the board and membership of the Cranbrook Community Forest Society, we oppose Schedule 7 and hope council will remove it from the draft OCP.
The CCFS board requests that concerned citizens also oppose Schedule 7 by commenting on the OCP on the City of Cranbrook website. The surveys are available at Cranbrook2042.ca.
We suggested commenting on Transportation and Parks & Recreation. The deadline to complete the surveys is Sunday, December 10 at 11:59 p.m.
e-KNOW file photo
Submitted by Joseph Cross, President, Cranbrook Community Forest Society