Fate of Temple Street staircase with city hall

At their August 20 meeting Parksville council addressed an application for a private set of stairs, after they were built.

These stairs

These stairs

At their August 20 meeting Parksville council addressed an application for a private set of stairs, after they were built.

The owners of the property at 550 Temple Street applied for a development variance permit and development permit to legalize the now completed stairs.

Chief administrative officer Fred Manson said the stairs appear to be replacing an older set, for which their is photographic evidence, but no paperwork on record.

The stairs traverse the steep bank down to the beach and because it is steeper than 30 degrees they require a relaxation of the city zoning bylaw which requires a 7.5 metre setback from the top of the slope, explains the staff report.

The stairs comply with all other city-required setbacks, including ending more than 15m from the “natural boundary of the sea.”

Ground Control Geotechnical Engineering Ltd. assessed the stairs after they were built and report they are geotechnically safe for human and don’t increase the risk of erosion.

“Denial of a variance is entirely at council’s discretion and is appropriate if council believes that the proposed relaxations will (have a negative impact),” the staff report says.

When some councillors appeared to be struggling with the decision to deny or send the item forward, Manson pointed out that “if you vote no at this point, in effect that is a decision that the stairs will have to come out, advancing at this point is not making a decision.”

Council unanimously agreed to advance the item to get more public input and make a decision at a future meeting.