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Some residents unhappy with sewer project on Lee Road Community Park Trail

13-lot subdivision being developed on Coral Place
Map of the sewer services installation at the Lee Road Community Park Trail. (RDN Map)

Some residents in the French Creek area are upset with the construction of sewer services by the Lee Road Community Park Trail.

Gary and Roberta Newbigging expressed disappointment regarding the project when they appeared as a delegation at the regular meeting of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) board on Nov. 28.

The couple, who spoke on behalf of unhappy residents living in a strata close to the development, indicated the project, which include the removal of trees, would adversely impact them. They said they were not given notice nor were they consulted.

Construction on the project started on Nov. 28. The couple was asking the RDN board to pause it until they get the opportunity to present a report from their own arborist for the trees that would be chopped down.

“We did not get the chance to put together in terms of a presentation, pictures of what’s being impacted so you could clearly see what has happened and how it impacts all of us,” said Roberta.

Ballard Fine Homes plans to create a 13-lot subdivision at 1017 Coral Pl., and had applied to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI). The application was referred to the RDN, who advised Ballard a community sewer would be required for the anticipated level of density.

READ MORE: Parksville removing or modifying 31 trees in pair of parks

Ballard recommended last spring the installation of an underground gravity sewer line through Lee Road Community Park Trail. A Park Use Permit was granted by the RDN after the proposed alignment and design were reviewed by RDN Parks and Water Services, who after looking at other options considered Ballard’s plan as the best long-term solution.

According to the RDN CAO, Douglas Holmes, as part of the review process for the permit, an arborist was hired to assess the trench alignment to reduce the impact on trees and vegetation, as well as be the on-site monitor during construction. The initial arborist assessment advised that up to four trees may be impacted.

“What we’re trying to establish is the protection for the tress that exist in the park that will be remaining,” said Gary Newbigging. “And we have 26 signficant trees down slope from this trench that’s being dug. And there’s no consideration that’s been given that we are aware of as to protect those.”

Holmes indicated on Nov. 15 notices were distributed to property owners in the area advising there will be a temporary closure of the Lee Road Community Park Trail to allow the installation of a sewer line. Residents were also requested to connect with RDN park staff to discuss replanting options for the area including tree species.

As well, Holmes explained the RDN Park Use Permit does not include provisions for public consultation. The RDN has the authority to cancel the work, Holmes said, only it if the developers failed to comply with all of the terms of the permit.

The developers will be required to pay for the construction of the project as well as finance the operation, maintenance, deficiencies and deficiency corrections for a year. Then after that the infrastructure will be assumed by the RDN.

As well, Ballard will pay for the replanting of native trees and plant species as well as the re-installation of the trail. They also gave an additional $15,000 to help fund trail and park improvements to land dedicated through the subdivision process.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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