At the Radium Hot Springs council meeting on Wednesday, October 26th, council discussed the possibility of amending the current Bylaw 426 in order to improve the marketability of the property in the downtown area.
Currently, the western portion of downtown in the Village is zoned as C2 or Commercial Residential, according to director of planning and development services Arne Dohlen.
“This mix with the commercial designation has created a number of times grief for people trying to sell houses from a residential purpose because banks look at the commercial designation and don’t understand this is a combined zone,” he said. “People purchasing with a home equity loan need to have a whole bunch more money to put up for a down payment in order to purchase a place because it’s mixed commercial zone.”
The owners of a property on Stanley Street brought this issue forward to council because of the C2 designation placed on an exclusively residential property, making it difficult to arrange for financing on the property.
Dohlen said he and chief administrative officer Mark Read have been working on finding a suitable solution to this problem that could include rezoning through changing the bylaw to accommodate some of the residential properties that are currently zoned as commercial residences. To change the bylaw, council will require a public hearing with the first available date being November 23rd at 7 p.m.
Science Research Centre in Radium
Council received the report from the consulting firm contracted to investigate the possibility of creating a Columbia Valley Environment Science Research Centre sometime in the future.
Mayor Clara Reinhardt said that members of the community had brought the idea forward about the possibility of creating a discovery centre as a way of bringing more people into the community. She said they met with members of the community, including RDEK directors from both Area F and G, both Chambers of Commerce (Radium and the Columbia Valley), and the Shuswap Indian Band.
The results from the report indicate that there is enough supporting documentation to at least investigate getting funds for a full feasibility report. The report also noted that if they pursue this Centre, it would need to be done through a partnership with other organizations throughout the community in order to get funds.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with it,” Reinhardt said. “Once we have a feasibility study, we’ll know more but no matter what happens, it’s a long-term plan because we have our hands full right now.”
Alternative Approval Process for new hall
After determining that the Village will require a loan of $2,020,000 for the completion of the new community hall, council passed the motion for the alternative process.
Through this motion, they will be able to avoid having to hold a referendum, which Reinhardt said is a much more costly process. The alternative approval process notes that 10 per cent of the eligible electorate within the Village of Radium Hot Springs would have to come forward in opposition of the loan approval for the loan to be rejected.
Based on the the number of eligible electors report, the Village estimates that there are 570 eligible electors within the village, meaning that approximately 57 residents would have to fill out the form for the loan to be rejected. Residents have until December 16th to fill out their forms and submit them to be considered part of the process.
Reinhardt said she understands that it is council’s responsibility now to meet with people from the community to address any potential concerns with the new community hall so the approval process can proceed as planned.