The subdivision of a one-acre agriculturally zoned property on the Cordova Bay Ridge has ruffled feathers but will advance to a public hearing.
Gordon Truswell grew up at 5197 Del Monte Ave. in the 1950s and remembers the area for its farms. The lot is one of the remaining few over a half acre in size in the immediate area. Most are a quarter-acre, the same as his proposed subdivision, but some in his neighbourhood are against the rezoning of the lot from A1 agriculture to an RS-12 single family dwelling.
Council voted 5-4 to push it forward as a group of opposed neighbours spoke out that the subdivision was against the character of the neighbourhood. Couns. Vic Derman, Vicki Sanders, Dean Murdock and Judy Brownoff were opposed.
Gerald Klassen of Del Monte, Karla Krane of nearby Helvetia Crescent and Heather Lewis of nearby Rutli Meadows were among those who spoke out against the subdivision. They cited a lack of buses, sidewalks and the ability to walk to nearby amenities as reasons to reject to property.
“We’re hearing that this development isn’t within the character of the neighbourhood but the aerial maps show it is consistent with the neighbouring [lot sizes],” said Coun. Leif Wergeland. “Why can’t someone else enjoy something that these residents are already enjoying.”
Truswell said even if the development didn’t go ahead this time around it’s not realistic to farm on Del Monte. But he did crack a joke that until it’s rezoned, the lot could host cattle, just as the Alberg farm on Mount Douglas Cross Road did until this year.
“I do read the papers, but I’m not going bring cattle here,” he said. “I’m not a big time developer, I’m a farmer, and this isn’t a farm. The money we get [however] is going to go into the family [dairy] farm in Cobble Hill.”
As a young man, Truswell was already passionate about farming and raised rabbits at Del Monte. He even processed them on site but he made little money, and gave it up.
One of the chief complaints against the Truswell proposal was a stand of trees he removed in 2013 in preparation for development. A subdivision proposal at that time was denied.
The trees were ones he remembers planting with his father.
“It was not a clear cut, it was an unkept hedge that grew out of control… they grew to block the sun out of the neighbour’s yard and the neighbour agreed to their removal,” Truswell said.
Sanders supported dropping the subdivision to three lots. Derman is opposed to the proposal as it will bring added greenhouse gas emissions to a drive-only neighbourhood that is not accessible by bike or bus.
The sentiment shared by those councillors who voted in favour is that the new lots are consistent with many of those around them. Kitty corner from 5197 Del Monte are four lots in an acre-size property.