Welcome to Rethink Galloway
What is our objective?
To help create the right future for the Galloway Lands – one that meets the needs of the owner, the environment and the community – both today, and for all future generations.
Who are we?
We are concerned citizens living in Fernie and the surrounding area who share a deep interest in the future of the Galloway Lands.
Why does it matter?
The Galloway development is currently fast tracking through the approval process without appropriate impact studies. We are speaking up to ensure these studies are completed and considered prior to any potential zoning approval.
This is a significant rezoning proposal and we want to make sure the decision considers the values important to Elk Valley residents. As a community we need to imagine the best possible future for the Elk Valley, and part of that is making the right decisions today for generations to come.
The proposed development lands form a significant wildlife corridor connecting the top of the Lizard range to the Elk River, and are a home to grizzly bears, moose, goshawk and other plant and animal species. Lizard Creek, which runs along the lower edge of the lands, is an important spawning and rearing habitat for Westslope cutthroat trout. A wildlife impact study must be completed prior to potential zoning approval.
If approved, the Galloway development will consist of 75 large estate homes, all on septic systems and water wells, in an area with challenging ground water hydrology that feeds into Lizard Creek and the Elk River. An environmental impact study must be completed prior to potential re-zoning approval. Nobody wants a repeat of the septic system issues that plagued West Fernie.
The proposed access to the Galloway development is via Ski Hill Road and other residential streets in the Highline subdivision. These roadways are an integral part of the local pedestrian pathway network and are not suitable as a heavy vehicle route or for high traffic volumes. A credible traffic and safety impact study that reflects actual “real-life” roadway conditions must be conducted prior to potential re-zoning approval.
The BC wildfire and flooding disasters of 2021 have underscored the importance of community safety and resilience. The ski hill businesses, their customers, and local residents currently rely on a single access / egress route through the intersection of Ski Hill Road and BC Highway 3. Without an alternate access / egress route, this proposed development increases the likelihood that disruptive events (wildfire, flood, unsafe road conditions or traffic accident) will have unfavourable results – significant loss of property or possibly human lives. A fire safety study must be completed prior to potential re-zoning approval. As well, any zoning approval must be conditional upon plans for a second permanent community access route, and no construction should proceed until that route is in place.
Impact on Recreation
The development proposal shows several road crossings along the Elk Valley Nordic Center trails. The Nordic Center trails will no longer be through the forest, they will instead run alongside roads and between houses. Prior to any potential re-zoning approval, we need firm commitments from the developer on what will and will not happen to the Galloway trail system for both summer and winter use. Vague assurances regarding rerouting of impacted trails and proposals for unenforceable covenants to allow future trail access are insufficient protection for this valuable trail system.
The RDEK recently completed a Housing Needs Report to better understand housing challenges facing the region. The results of this comprehensive study were released in December 2021 and among other things, it highlighted the need for more diverse housing options. "The findings indicate a need for housing across the RDEK that supports the needs of older residents and younger residents, especially those starting out and young families. Specifically, there is a need for more housing that is affordable and accessible for those on limited incomes, particularly within the rental market. An aging population presents a greater need for smaller housing units that allow for downsizing". It is not clear how the Galloway Development aligns with the findings of the RDEK Housing Needs Report.
We urge our decision makers and our community to consider the impacts of a development of this scale on the future of our Valley. Who is impacted by the generational legacy of multiple septic systems and water wells? How is this style of development consistent with the findings of the Elk Valley Area A Housing Needs Assessment? What does the future of this Valley look like if we use development as a conservation measure?
We all need to imagine the best possible future for the Elk Valley, and part of that is making the right decisions today for generations to come. Lets work together to generate a new option for the current owner that supports both the owner’s legacy and the interests of our community today and into the future.
Our elected RDEK representatives are trusted to make decisions that are in the best interests of their constituents. They must listen and engage with residents to ensure decisions made are right for the community, today and into the future. The scale and impact of this development proposal warrants thorough engagement and consideration of all options.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE COMMUNITY TO RETHINK GALLOWAY, PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION