Expect more such decisions to come, warns Barrett
By Craig Westcott
October 13, 2023 Edition
Climate change is being tagged as the reason CBS council had to stand by its development rules last week and refuse a discretionary use application to extend the size of a shed at 31 Concord Drive in Foxtrap.
The problem, explained planning committee chairperson Rex Hillier, is that the land is located in the buffer to a one in 100-year flood risk area of Steadywater Brook, which begins at Gull Pond off the Foxtrap Access Road and flows several kilometres northwards down through CBS and out into the bay at the end of Concord Drive.
“Prior to the public meeting (tonight) we met as a committee of the whole and one of our discussions was where we’re going and where we are at present with regards to climate change,” said the councillor-at-large. “One of the discussion items dealt with municipal liability in terms of what blame could be brought on municipalities for not dealing with climate change issues in a particular way. Municipalities may be liable for negligence in climate change-related risks in a couple of areas. One of them is inspecting and approving development within areas in which it is reasonably foreseeable that flooding or other risks will occur.”
One of those areas in particular, Hillier noted, is the Steadywater drainage basin, which is where this property exists.
“Based on the study, the accessory building in question sits in the one in 100-year flood zone, and that goes directly back to the liability that we discussed in terms of climate change,” he added. “So, we found ourselves in a position that we have no choice but to refuse this application.”
Deputy Mayor Andrea Gosse agreed. “It would be irresponsible of us where it is a flood zone to approve the application, she said, even though there is a storage building there already. “To add to that would be irresponsible for us to approve it. It’s unfortunate, but when you have that information and that data you have to abide by it, and you have to do what’s in the best interest.”
Councillor Joshua Barrett said he applauded Hillier and the other committee members for making the decision, and observed since he’s been on council, he hasn’t seen council decline many such applications.
“As councillor Hillier mentioned, we are starting this process where we are doing these stormwater management plans, (such as) the Steadywater Brook Storm Management Plan,” Barrett said. “And that was based on a direction that council put forward to develop these maps. In the future I think it’s reasonable to expect these types of decisions to continue to be made. We’re really taking the impacts of climate change seriously, the projections that are going to happen, so take note of these types of decisions now and into the future.”
In other planning committee news:
Council has given the go ahead to an application to build a boathouse on the east side of Lawrence Pond opposite the driveway of 47 Lawrence Pond Road East. That is near the location of an old boathouse that had been rotting into the water for years to the dismay of some residents in the area and users of the pond. It was finally removed this past summer following complaints by resident Gerard Phillpott. On Wednesday, Phillpott said credit goes to Mayor Darrin Bent for lighting a fire under the authorities responsible for safety around the pond. All previous attempts to get something done about the dilapidated old structure had failed until Bent got personally involved, Phillpott said.
And finally, council approved variance applications to allow construction of single houses at 1 Junco Place and 20-22 Kinglet Way. Both lots will have shorter rear yards than the regulations require. The Junco Place home will also have a shorter setback from the road, while the Kinglet Way property will have a shorter distance between the house and the flanking street. Both properties are located in the subdivision being developed near Manuels Head at the bottom of Cherry Lane.