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Latest Updates

More Information on Galloway Lands Public Hearing

As you heard last week, despite rejecting the Galloway Lands rezoning proposal on Thursday, the Board on Friday voted to progress the application through the 1st and 2nd reading, triggering a public hearing process. 

The next step in the process is to hold a public hearing to solicit and collect public input which will inform the final decision to either accept or reject the rezoning. The public hearing has been set for June 14, 15, 16 with the final rezoning decision targeted for the July 8 RDEK Board meeting. 

https://www.rdek.bc.ca/news/entry/galloway_lands_proposal_goes_to_public_hearing

The hearings will be held virtually (via Zoom), during the evenings of June 14, 15, 16. All members of the public will be invited to participate and will each be given two minutes to speak. Pre-registration will be required and these details will be provided by RDEK. Once details are available we encourage everyone to register.  Additional hearing dates will be added if required to support the number of registrations.

 
Your voice matters, and it will only take a few minutes of your time - please plan to sign up to speak your mind.

In addition, as part of the public hearing process, written submissions will be accepted and included in the public hearing report. Submissions can be directed to Krista Gilbert at the RDEK (kgilbertrdek.bc.ca). We encourage everyone to take 'pen to paper' to highlight your concerns and tell the RDEK that you DO NOT support the development in its current form.

 

Two media articles of interest:

 

CBC News
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/local/galloway-lands-development-fernie-1.6457363?fbclid=IwAR3kChDrs_-sO-7S8dz0dgzzk9hMtshIlD1RIDs0T3EFK-ZZi8-9bY0-D90

 

CBC Radio Kelowna Daybreak

Refer to 29:40 in this broadcast for the 7 minute segment on the Galloway Lands
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-110-daybreak-south/clip/15912921-juno-awards-theme-song-best-opening-lines-kootenay 

 

If you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reply to this email, or message us via Instagram or Facebook! Thank you for your continued support of Rethink Galloway! 

 

Sincerely,

The Rethink Team

Galloway Lands Proposal to go to Public Hearing

 

Disappointing news from the RDEK Board meeting on Friday, as the Board reversed their decision from Thursday and voted to move ahead with the application despite continued compelling feedback from ten delegations including the Ktunaxa Nation, Fernie Snow Valley Community Association, Fernie Nordic Society, Elk River Alliance, Elk River Guiding, local residents and several referral agencies such as the City of Fernie, Interior Health, and RCR. All these stakeholder groups continue to highlight significant deficiencies in the application.

 

The application will now move to a public hearing process which is planned for mid-June. More details of the hearing will be provided next week. We will also be posting presentations and reports on the website, so watch for those.

 

Thank you to everyone who attended the RDEK meetings! The Thursday meeting was attended by 45 people in person in Cranbrook and over 175 attended via Zoom, a powerful presence.  Let's make the same kind of impact at the Public Hearing!

 

In the meantime, we continue to ask you to stay up to date and engaged in the process. Your voice matters and we will be looking for everyone to be part of the public hearing process.

 

The Fernie Free Press has provided excellent coverage of the meetings including an almost six-hour long Facebook live video of the entire Thursday meeting.  Links are included below.

 

If you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reply to this email, or message us via Instagram or Facebook! Thank you for your continued support of Rethink Galloway! 

 

Sincerely,

The Rethink Team

 

Friday RDEK Board Meeting

https://www.thefreepress.ca/news/rdek-sends-galloway-lands-proposal-to-public-hearing-in-dramatic-turnaround/

Thursday RDEK Planning and Development Meeting

https://www.thefreepress.ca/news/rdek-to-hear-delegates-make-recommendation-on-galloway-lands-today/

 

https://www.thefreepress.ca/news/rdek-planning-committee-recommends-galloway-lands-proposal-not-proceed/

 

https://www.facebook.com/freepressbc/videos/588184972321993

Show Your Support!

RDEK Meetings to Review / Potentially Advance Galloway Lands Proposal Happening This Week

Important review meetings are taking place this week. If you care about the direction of this development and the legacy for our valley, we encourage you to attend these meetings, either in person at the Cranbrook RDEK offices or remotely via Zoom or audio conference.

 

Thursday, May 12 - RDEK Planning and Development Services Committee Meeting Starting @ 1:00 pm

  • Agenda Package Link https://cutt.ly/lHe6rDe

  • Galloway Presentations Agenda Items 5.10-5.23 (will begin at approx. 1:45pm)

  • Galloway Board discussion Agenda Item 9.1.1

  • Click on paperclip for more info on each agenda item including referral documents and RDEK Planning Department Report 

 

Zoom and Dial-in:

  • To view via browser: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89940305934

  • Meeting ID: 899 4030 5934

  • To listen via Telephone: +1 438 809 7799 / +1 587 328 1099 / +1 647 374 4685 / +1 647 558 0588 / +1 778 907 2071

 

Attending in Person in Cranbrook:

  • RDEK Cranbrook Office address is 19 - 24th Avenue South (next to Cranbrook Hospital)

  • Seating in the RDEK office will be limited, so get there early (bring a lawn chair/fold up chair just in case)

  • There is a guest WIFI, so there will also be an option to zoom in from the vestibule or parking lot if seating is tight

 

Friday, May 13 - RDEK Board Meeting starting @9:00 am

 

Your presence matters! 

Response to Additional Information Provided by Handshake Holdings

You may have seen communications from the developer regarding potential changes to the development plan, including among other things a wastewater system and a fire suppression system. If these commitments are authentic and are properly implemented that would be positive, but it is worth noting that they are not part of the revised application package that was submitted to the RDEK and that we received on April 13th. Many of the changes are also short on detail, and as far as we can tell do not represent firm commitments on the part of the developer.


These last-minute alterations are further validation of a concern that was raised at the very beginning of the approval process - namely that the proper studies and planning work had not been completed prior to submission of the development application. Why is this important land-use decision being rushed? Stakeholders, the public, and RDEK decision makers deserve clear, detailed information and firm commitments from the developer prior to making a decision.


Please attend the RDEK meetings on May 12th and 13th to show your support for getting all the facts properly and fully on the table prior to making a decision that will impact the Elk Valley for generations to come.


Note that further information regarding this week’s meetings (Cranbrook meeting location and the Zoom link) will be posted on the Rethink Galloway website once they are released by RDEK (expected by the end of day Tuesday May 10th).

RethinkGalloway-FP-May9.jpg

Save These Dates to Show Your Support for Rethink Galloway

May 12th 1:00 PM and

May 13th 9:00 AM

 

A major land use decision that will have generational impact on our valley is happening. As you likely know, the proposal for the rezoning of the Galloway Lands has been unexpectedly fast tracked to the RDEK Planning and Development Committee on May 12th, and to the RDEK Board on May 13th.

We urge as many people as possible to come out to show your support by watching and listening to these meetings in person at the RDEK Office in Cranbrook, or virtually via Zoom or audio conference. Your presence either in person or online makes a difference!

Thursday May 12 @ 1:00 pm MDT

  • RDEK Planning and Development Committee Meeting

  • Presentations by concerned groups and delegations with respect to the Development Application

  • RDEK Board discussion regarding the Development Application

  • Agenda and links for meeting to be provided on May 10
     

Friday May 13 @ 9:00 am MDT

  • RDEK Board Meeting

  • If Application is advanced from May 12, it will have 1st and 2nd reading

  • Potentially advanced/approved to a Public Hearing

  • Agenda and links for meeting to be provided on May 10

 

Support Rethink Galloway on May 12th and 13th. Make your presence count!

 

See below for more background and the latest updates.

Galloway Lands - Urgent Call to Action

 

The proposal for the rezoning of the Galloway Lands has been unexpectedly fast tracked to the RDEK Planning and Development Committee on May 12th, and to the RDEK Board on May 13th, as a result of our RDEK Area A Director Mike Sosnowski having asked the RDEK Board to expedite the review and approval process. Based on his statements in bringing this motion forward, it appears Director Sosnowski was fast tracking the project at the request of the developer.

This is a major land use decision that will have generational impact. Please plan to attend these meetings in person at the RDEK Office in Cranbrook as a concerned resident. If you are unable to attend in person, you can also attend virtually. You will not be expected to speak, but your attendance is important and will be noted as concern for these lands. Meeting details will follow and will also be available on the RDEK website on May 10.

 

See below for more information on our Call to Action. Our elected officials are there to represent community interests, not an individual developer’s interest, and we need to make that clear.

 

Updated Developer Proposal

The Proponent has recently released updates to their application.  Please scroll to the bottom of this article to see the complete update.

 

Overall, the updated proposal does little to address the concerns brought forward at the January meeting.

  • No change to access.  Still single access to the community via Ski Hill Road / Highline Drive / Boomerang Way / Snow Pines Drive - limited mention of egress.

  • Still seventy-four lots with water wells and septic systems - no tie-in to utility services.

  • No plan for fire suppression services - to be addressed after re-zoning.

  • Continued dismissal of any impact to wildlife and fish habitat.

 

The Proponent continues to address only the bare minimum of what is required for re-zoning with no consideration for the safety and health of our community, no consideration for the value Elk Valley residents attach to these lands, and no consideration of the longer-term costs and impacts of this development on our community. The developer’s responses to these critical issues are oversimplified, or in many cases simply dismissed or pushed out to supposedly be dealt with later in the process.

The fact is, there are many significant flaws in this application. Please call or write the RDEK directors to request they not make a rushed decision.  The Proponent needs to do a proper job completing the work they were asked to do in January when this decision was deferred.

 

Another Option

As expressed by BC Parks, there IS another option…to expand Mount Fernie Provincial Park to incorporate these lands for conservation and recreational uses … let’s make that the legacy for the Elk Valley!

 

RDEK Process Concerns

In addition to attending the meetings in May, we urge you to express to the RDEK your concern around process, your concern for the future of our community, and your support to explore opportunities to create a legacy for future generation.

The RDEK Galloway development process seems to be ignoring all aspects of a proper development application process.  It ignores the right of citizens and referral agencies to be provided proper and reasonable notice of important development matters.  It sends a message to all developers that if you want a project dealt with on an expedited basis, just call a Director and make it so. 

Director Sosnowski commented at the last director’s meeting; “I’ve been asked to move this motion forward with expedience,” purportedly at the request of the developer.  This was all done in the face of RDEK staff previously confirming that the application would not be heard again by the RDEK Board until June 2022 or later in the summer, given the mandated processes of the RDEK to properly review and re-refer such applications.

This conduct is just not acceptable for publicly elected officials with a duty to serve in the interests of the public, rather than against the public interest in favour of developers.

We encourage respectful and meaningful engagement with the Directors. Their phone numbers and emails can be found here: https://www.rdek.bc.ca/about/board_of_directors/

Additional Information Provided to RDEK by Developer

We just received (April 13th) additional information provided to RDEK in March.  We will provide comments once we have reviewed the material.

Galloway Lands Approval Process Accelerated

 

At last week’s RDEK meetings the RDEK Board voted in favour on a last-minute agenda item advanced by Director Sosnowski to bypass proper process previously confirmed by RDEK staff and to expedite the review and approval process of the Galloway Lands Development. The rationale provided by Director Sosnowski was “I have been asked to move this forward with expedience”. What was not acknowledged was that the Board had in fact deferred 1st and 2nd reading in January, requesting more information. As noted in the January 17th RDEK press release “…the Board felt it was premature to move forward to a public hearing without having additional information in several key areas, including road access, wildland and structural fire protection, water and septic, and wildlife corridors”.

https://www.rdek.bc.ca/news/entry/galloway_lands_proposal_referred_back_to_staff_further_information_sought

 

At the April meeting, there was no updated application, additional information or further studies provided to the Board, nor had staff had an opportunity prepare a report. Despite this, Director Sosnowski suggested the application was “taking too long” and Directors voted 9 to 6 in favour of approving the motion to prioritize and advance the application to the May Board meeting.

Expediting this application leaves inadequate time for RDEK planning staff and affected agencies to review the new material (reports having not yet been released with the exception of an ‘environmental study’) and provide their comments. Agency referrals submitted prior to the January meeting, including Interior Health, City of Fernie, and BC Parks, sited major concerns and recommended the application not proceed until the proponent addressed the key issues. Director Sosnowski suggested that with the revised application, referrals were not necessary, and would take too long. In addition, expediting this application pushes all other in-progress RDEK development applications to the back burner.

This is an appalling and deeply disturbing development, as this is a significant land decision for our community with deferred infrastructure costs, environmental risk, and social impact, and is being intentionally advanced by our own Area A elected RDEK official, Mike Sosnowski without any consideration of proper process.  This decision blatantly contradicts the RDEK’s previous position on this matter and highlights Director Sosnowski’s continuing favoritism toward the Galloway proposal and developer. This elected official and representative of Area A constituents is doing anything but representing community views, compromising his own legacy and reputation during his final months of office.

What does this mean?

The application will now be brought forward to the Board in May. Presumably, it will be reviewed at the Planning and Development Committee meeting on May 12 with a motion made as to whether to proceed with 1st and 2nd reading, and then adopted at the RDEK Board meeting on Friday, May 13. If it is approved there, then we understand it will move to a public hearing later in May. We urge all members of our community to stay engaged, write letters and emails to our elected official and RDEK board members, write letters to the press and attend all upcoming meetings in May to ensure that your voice and views are heard.

What about the proponents updated FAQ’s? Isn’t that additional information?

Don’t be fooled by the FAQ communication provided recently by the proponent.  It contains no new information and is a rehash of the hollow words provided in their original submission.  As per the January board meeting, the proponent was to return with additional studies completed on road access, water aquifer analysis, septic, community wildfire protection, wildlife corridors, life cycle costs and covenant management. To date nothing has been provided or shared with affected agencies nor our community.

Thank you to the 88 people who zoomed in to the meeting on Friday and with less than 12 hours notice! This is another example of the frequent and flagrant lack of process by our elected Director Mike Sosnowski who continues to find ways to suppress public engagement. Your involvement is making a difference and highlights how deeply concerned our community is about these lands being developed. We urge you to stay involved. Don’t lose your voice; we will need you on May 12/13th.

Please refer to this Free Press article or the RDEK press release for more information on the meeting:

https://www.thefreepress.ca/news/galloway-lands-development-proposal-to-appear-again-before-rdek-board-of-directors-in-may/

https://www.rdek.bc.ca/news/entry/galloway_lands_proposal_expected_to_be_back_before_rdek_board_in_may

BC Parks Expresses Interest in the Galloway Lands

 

Here is an opportunity to Rethink Galloway and to imagine the best possible future for the Elk Valley, for climate change abatement, for protection of our wildlife and rivers, for the safety and health of our residents, and to create a multi-generational gift to our region.

 

BC Parks, supported by the highest level of provincial government, has expressed public interest in the Galloway Lands, an opportunity that ensures true conservation, authentic public access, and an invaluable legacy for future generations.

 

Read The Free Press article, the letter from George Heyman, BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and listen to the discussion of it at the Fernie City Council on March 14:

 

https://www.thefreepress.ca/news/galloway-lands-property-of-interest-to-bc-parks-says-minister-of-environment-and-climate-change-strategy/

https://fernie.civicweb.net/FileStorage/DF596DFB5CE64BA69DE6988F3B4535F6-Letter.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/CityOfFernie/videos/646567283237343/ 

(discussed at 1:07:55 in this link)

 

As the Elk Valley Community, we continue to advocate for responsible development. The issues that were raised by many community groups at the RDEK Board meetings in January are significant and warrant full and proper analysis of impacts.

  1. Road access/egress

  2. Water/septic issues

  3. Fire suppression infrastructure

  4. Protection of fish/wildlife habitat and corridors

​These issues cannot be addressed or corrected through a series of FAQs with little substantive new information, hollow promises, and unenforceable land covenants that are really just marketing tools. The development proposal and FAQs are doubling down on poor design that benefits few, and places significant burden on future generations through deferred infrastructure costs.

 

Our elected RDEK representatives are trusted to make decisions that are in the best interests of their constituents. The RDEK has the responsibility to ensure a standard for development that does not exacerbate existing challenges or create new future liabilities. Due process includes the option of declining a proposal that does not meet long term needs or priorities of the community.

Wildlife Impact Assessment for the Galloway Lands Released

 

We have recently received a study conducted by Dr. Clayton Lamb regarding the impact of the Galloway Lands development on wildlife habitat and corridors. Dr. Lamb summarizes in his Executive Summary: "The proposed housing density in the Galloway Lands, paired with the proposed narrow and fragmented corridors that compose the conservation lands are unlikely to facilitate connectivity of large mammals. In addition, the possible development of these narrow corridors into human recreation areas will further degrade their ecological function and connectivity potential."

 

We represent citizens that are concerned for the future of the Valley. We believe our elected officials need to consider applications where proponents have completed all their background work and studies to the highest standards. In addition, elected officials must support the people in this community in exploring all feasible options for the multi-generational decisions being made. Please share this study and continue to communicate your concerns on this issue, and others.