Parksville city council finally closed the book on a contentious subdivision servicing bylaw when it voted unanimously to approve a new bylaw that will allow the planting of public street trees in new developments.
The new bylaw was given three readings with minimal discussion after an amended version was submitted by staff during council’s regular meeting March 5 in council chambers.
“This includes the changes to reintroduce trees, as requested by council,” said Vaughn Figueira, director of engineering, as he presented a report on the bylaw.
Staff had originally requested in December, 2017, that council repeal and replace an outdated 1996 subdivision servicing bylaw with a new version that would widen boulevards and sidewalks, increase the diameter of water supply and storm and septic sewer pipes, relocate other utilities and provide housekeeping language changes.
But the proposed replacement bylaw also recommended prohibiting the planting of public trees along the streets in new developments, an issue that quickly produced a storm of protest in the community.
After council initially gave staff the go-ahead to draft the bylaw, that decision was reconsidered in a January vote, and a public hearing was called for February to offer the community its chance for input. Following that hearing, on Feb. 26, Coun. Kirk Oates introduced a motion to eliminate the street tree prohibition from the draft bylaw. That motion was passed unanimously and the bylaw sent back to staff to be finalized for last week’s vote.
Figueira noted in his March 5 report that some other modifications had to be made to the bylaw as a result of reintroducing trees, including changing the street width back to its current standard, and requiring water metres be installed by the city rather than by contractors.
“We’d like to head off contractors installing water metres without our knowing it,” Figueira said.
Springwood paving OK’d
Council also approved paving of the Springwood Park parking lot off Despard Avenue.
The $150,000 project was included in the 2018 provisional financial plan and approving the work now would allow the work to be performed by Haylock Bros. Paving Ltd. before its current contract with the city expires on April 30.
Addressing drainage and runoff issues brought up during an earlier public hearing, Coun. Sue Powell suggested it would be better to have a permeable surface. Coun. Mary Beil asked whether swales or infiltration could be added to slow the runoff of surface water.
“There is already drainage in place,” operations manager John Diggins noted. “The water exits into an existing ditch, so it will effectively re-enter the ground.”
The expenditure for paving, based on a quote from Haylock Bros., will be $140,000. Coun. Beil asked if the remaining $10,000 budgeted for the project could be used for requests to improve the park’s baseball field complex.
“We’re planning to use that for painting lines in the parking lot, with a little contingency for expenses that may occur,” Diggins said.
Figueira added that painting of parking lines will improve organization and increase capacity in the lot.