Smaller lot sizes in RDCK Area B will ‘drastically change the face of agricultural community’

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To the Editor:

Do you know your APCs? No? Most people don’t. If you live in the rural Creston Valley, you have a group of volunteers who work hard to serve your needs and to represent your wishes to your Regional District of Central Kootenay director. They are not elected. They are appointed by the director and although he/she is not required to comply with their opinions or wishes, they meet regularly. They are your area A, B or C advisory planning commissions. I am a recently appointed commissioner for Area B.

We review zoning applications and try to keep the director informed on the needs of residents of Area B. Currently, we are reviewing your official community plan, which deals with decisions as to how the area will be developed or not developed. So that each rural area is able to progress with its own uniqueness, we design an official community plan based on workshops, surveys, etc. that reflect your wishes.

For example, the Area B APC is currently considering one recommendation brought forward by the director of Area B and the RDCK senior planner: that minimum lot sizes in Lister will be reduced from their current requirements of 20 acres within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The proposed change is for smaller lots: a minimum lot size within the ALR of 10 acres and a minimum lot size outside the ALR of 2.5 acres. Will this affect available farm land within Lister? Of course it will. Will it drastically change the face of this predominantly agricultural community forever? Probably. Do you care?

If you do, the final OCP must be approved by a process, including public open houses (and we all know how well these are attended, as they stray from the former meeting-style approach we have for so long enjoyed in this valley). There is also talk of a plebiscite or opinion poll to give final approval or denial to this plan once people have deliberated on the subject.

Want to know more about the pros and cons of smaller minimum lot sizes in Lister? In early April, the Lister Community Association and the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition are each holding meetings where you are welcome to attend and listen to the discussion and perhaps even ask some questions of your own. As well, consider dropping by your local area APC from time to time. These meetings are legislated to be open to the public. Find out when/where your APC meets, now that you know your APCs!

Pat Martin