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New zoning category proposed for affordable housing project

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle,  July 10 2020

The District of Port Hardy is introducing another new zoning category to accommodate a rental housing application proposed for 8925 Park Drive.

In 2018, the District rezoned the property in question to allow for the construction of a Big House by the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwakda’xw First Nation - which is now to be built on reserve land.

As part of the same process, property at 8700 Park Drive was rezoned to allow for market duplexes and townhouses, and 8905 Park Drive zoning was amended to allow for apartments, mixed use residential and some commercial.

At its June 26 meeting, council was presented with a request to change the zoning of 8925 Park Drive and repeal the bylaws that would revert zoning at 8700 and 8905 Park Drive back to R2-Duplex Residential.

“Basically, they’ll be voiding the rezones that were done on these properties last year,” said Director of Corporate Services Heather Nelson-Smith.

“BC Housing has certain sizes that are required for their units that they pay for and they are smaller than our typical RM-1 multiple family unit dwelling size and so there is a requirement there to reduce those sizes,” said Nelson-Smith. 

“The proponent has also requested that the height be allowed to go a little higher than the 11 metres which is permitted in the RM-1 zoning,” Nelson-Smith said.

Council could apply the RM-2 Multiple Family Residential - High Density being used for the North Island Seniors Housing project at 9300 Trustee Road. RM-2 reduces the sizes of the dwelling units, increases the height of the building to 12 metres and the maximum lot coverage to 50 per cent from 40.

“There is another option as well. Under the Local Government Act, we were given the provision to form a new residential zoning which would allow for just rental tenure,” said Nelson-Smith. 

“I know that they do have approval from BC Housing for 24 units and so they do need to be working towards those amendments in order to be able to access that funding,” said Nelson-Smith.


Photo — District of Port Hardy

The District of Port Hardy is introducing a Residential Rental Tenure Zone to allow for a multiple unit residential housing development on Park Drive.

Dignitaries travelled up to Port Hardy July 2 to welcome the community into an exclusive group.

Port Hardy is only the ninth in British Columbia, the second on Vancouver Island, to receive Bear Smart designation. They were congratulated on their achievement by North Island MLA Claire Trevena and presented with a certificate by the Conservation Officer Service.

A new Bear Smart container, which will be placed outside the Civic Centre, was also unveiled. The container was paid for by Bear Smart BC Consulting, the District of Port Hardy and the Lions Club of Port Hardy and features a photo of a bear catching a salmon by Bear Smart Committee member Patrick Lemieux.

“I know that Port Hardy has been working for many years to achieve this status,” Trevena said. 

The designation means the community is working to have a good relationship with bears and that means not having attractants around, said Trevena, who also applauded the community’s switch to weekly garbage pickup during months bears are most active.

“It costs more for individuals in town, but it does mean the bears are less likely to come through town,” she said.

“Port Hardy has been working on this for 11 years, since 2009 when it completed its human/bear conflict management plan,” said Acting Mayor Janet Dorward.

The Bear Smart Committee, struck in 2016, “with outreach and education has worked hard to address the causes of human bear conflict in our area. In collaboration with residents and staff Port Hardy’s Bear Smart Committee has increased human safety, reduced property damage, and reduced the number of bears that have to be destroyed each year - all very positive improvements as we continue to live close to nature,” Dorward said. 

Dignitaries applaud Hardy’s Bear Smart achievement

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle,  July 10 2020

Photo — Kathy O'Reilly

BC Conservation Officer Service Inspector Officer in Charge - West Coast Region, Ben York demonstrates how Port Hardy’s newest bear proof garbage container works on July 2 after congratulating the community on achieving Bear Smart status.


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