Lantzville council passed third reading of a controversial development on Monday night amid the shouts of people protesting outside district hall.
Councillors voted 3-2 in favour of both an official community plan amendment and a zoning bylaw related to the 250-unit Clark-Medd development south of the Island Highway.
Coun. Ian Savage asked for three alterations to the OCP special area plan amendment to expand one park, designate community contribution land as another park, and add two speed bumps to Clark Drive. Any of his amendments to the amendment would have triggered another public hearing, staff advised, and all were voted down 3-2.
“I just want to express how disappointed I am, perhaps more than anyone, because I put in so much work on the OCP, carefully crafting a way to get a legacy of parkland with density the community would accept,” Savage said.
He said there are “many, many” ways in which the special area plan for Clark-Medd isn’t compliant with the rest of the OCP, and said the project’s “vastly increased” density will set a precedent.
Mayor Mark Swain also voted against third readings of the OCP amendment and zoning bylaw, saying residents expect council to uphold the OCP.
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Lantzville developer agrees to compromise on density of major project https://t.co/xD5R1SIzKE
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) October 16, 2020
Coun. Will Geselbracht commented that the noise outside council chambers was grating, but said he respects people’s right to protest and said he was elected to have thick skin. He said he’s entirely confident he’s representing citizens, including the vocal opponents and those who haven’t spoken up.
“This is a beautiful community. It has been for the last hundred and so years. It will continue to be a beautiful community. It’s changing. We put that off for 20 years and now the change is coming,” Geselbracht said.
Coun. Jamie Wilson referenced the protesters who were shouting that he didn’t have a spine.
“I am representing the residents and contrary to the screamers outside, it takes a spine to stand up for the silent majority that’s not sitting out there with a megaphone,” he said.
Wilson said he’s representing people who live in Lantzville but also trying to make it a place where young families can move to and older residents can relocate. He said the Clark-Medd project will help bring “much-needed” diversity.
“I feel like I understand the big picture of Lantzville,” Wilson said. “I understand the OCP and I understand what we need in Lantzville in looking out 30, 40, 50 years from now.”
Councillors Geselbracht, Wilson and Karen Proctor voted against Savage’s amendments to the OCP special area plan amendment. Swain and Savage voted against third readings of the OCP amendment and the zoning bylaw.
More than 500 residents petitioned mayor and council against the Clark-Medd project and even since the public hearing Sept. 28, residents have continued to submit correspondence questioning the district’s process and impartiality.