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City of Castlegar seeks feedback on draft Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw

The City of Castlegar has launched a feedback forum for community members to give their input on the city’s draft community plan and zoning bylaw, which will be available until the end of the month.

Last fall, the city initiated the first phase of community engagement, which played a significant role in shaping the key priorities of the draft community plan.

A media release from the City highlighted five priorities identified through feedback: focusing on growth in key nodes, protecting and restoring the city’s ecosystem, creating a dynamic Columbia Avenue corridor, diversifying the city’s neighborhoods, and nurturing an active city.

This feedback informed the development of the draft community bylaw plan, which is now undergoing further public review.

Then, it will be presented to the council for adoption after a public hearing scheduled for June.

“We want to thank the community of Castlegar for their input into this important process. The foundation of our Community Plan has been shaped by your feedback – making this a project that reflects the needs of our community and how we envision our future,” says Mayor Maria McFaddin.

“We are excited to hear from you once again in this final round of engagement, where we have the opportunity to review both the Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw in their entirety.”

Now, to ensure the visions and goals outlined in the community plan are translated into action, the city wants the community’s feedback on its updated draft zoning bylaw.

Meeri Durand, the city’s Manager of Planning, Development and Sustainability, explained that the goal of the zoning bylaw is to enable more diverse housing types and residential infill, aligning with recent housing statutes from the BC government requiring all local governments to enable up to four housing units on former single detached and duplex lots.

The proposed zoning bylaw, according to Durand, will simplify commercial and industrial zones in the city by merging zones and consolidating lists of permitted uses, allowing for more flexibility for businesses and introducing more opportunities for small-scale commercial development.

“The proposed Zoning Bylaw introduces the opportunity for small neighborhood-scale commercial development in each of its major neighborhoods – such as daycare services and convenience stores while concentrating larger commercial businesses and higher-density residential along the Columbia Avenue corridor in the downtown and uptown areas.”

Durand said the changes once the bylaw is formally adopted are anticipated to be incremental, as high inflation and financing rates are still a “substantial barrier” to realizing housing supply.

Feedback on the community plan and zoning bylaw will be collected until May 22.

Copies of the draft documents and feedback forums are available online or can be obtained in person at Castlegar City Hall, located at 460 Columbia Avenue.

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