A site that was originally planned for a Silver Valley school is moving toward residential development.
On Tuesday, city council reviewed a staff report recommending the property at 23103 136th Ave. be rezoned to allow for 20 residential lots.
The site was originally to be part of a “civic heart” of Blaney Hamlet, planning director Chuck Goddard told council, with a school and park. However, the plan for a school was dropped when School District 42 said it has no need to locate a facility there, and no funding from the Education Ministry to do so. That decision was relayed to the city in 2012.
The result was a citizen petition to save the school site, and the formation of a group called Action Silver Valley.
In the 2020 election campaign, the BC NDP promised to buy land for a new elementary school in the Silver Valley neighbourhood. The school district estimates an additional 1,420 students will move to the area over the next 10 years.
Goddard said the school district is considering sites closer to Fern Crescent and 232nd Street for a school to serve Silver Valley students.
The city owns property north of the proposed residential development, which will be become a park – a plan which has the support of area residents, he told council.
Coun. Ahmed Yousef asked if the site could have some commercial development.
Goddard answered there is a commercial area planned on nearby Fern Crescent, but so far it has not been developed. There was a small commercial node designated for Blaney Hamlet, and it was leased to a child care. He said the site in question is not appropriate for commercial use.
Coun. Gordy Robson noted the applicant, Joel Lycan, has been held up for a decade from developing the site because of its potential use for a school.
However, he said the city is getting mail from Silver Valley residents about “lack of commercial, and lack of a heart.”
“We are now taking out one of the hearts,” he said. “The whole concept when we went in there was there were going to be neighbourhoods, and there was going to be schools, and everybody was going to walk. This is a long way from 232nd and 132nd, so it’s going to be quite a hike.
“I’m concerned that what we’ve planned, and what we’ve told the people for 20 years, is not happening,” added Robson.
The rezoning was forwarded to a regular council meeting, where the bylaw will be considered for first reading.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.