MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has approved the redesignation of two parcels totalling 2.17 acres in Bergen to allow expansion of the county-owned Davidson day use park.
The redesignations were approved by way of motion following a public hearing.
The redesignations are from agriculture district to parks and conservation district. One of the parcels is 1.44 acres in size, the other 0.73 acres.
“The proposed area would include the installation of interpretative and general signage as well as a picnic area, with table, and pest proof garbage bin,” administration said in a briefing note to council.
“A metal gate and lock will be installed at the access approach. In addition, a fence would be installed along the eastern boundary of the proposal, corresponding to the county’s undeveloped road allowance. The fence will include tree planting for screening/buffering.”
The area involved is located north of the existing Davidson Park across the Bergen Road.
“This area is heavily treed with an existing informal trail along the creek presumably used by Davidson Park patrons.”
The approved redesignation to parks and conservation district is intended for passive recreation, day use, with no development, which is the intent of the proposal application, as such no flood risks assessment was required in support of the proposal.
In a letter of support for the redesignations, nearby resident Jamie Syer said, in part, “Incorporating it (the parcels involved) into Davidson Park would enable the county to better maintain and enhance this small crescent of land, for the benefit of those who wish to enjoy it. The expansion is also an excellent complement to the recently created Davidson Park Trail on the south side of Township Road 320.
“Redesignating this piece of land to parks and conservation district would also make it possible to better control trespassing onto neighbouring private land. Presumably there would be boundary markers, and perhaps a fence installed.”
The Healey family, which has property near the subject parcels, raised a number of objections to the redesignations, including regarding the enjoyment of their property, impacts on property values, and fire safety concerns.
“Expanding Davidson Park across Bergen Road to the north will decrease the buffer between the established Davidson Park and our property,” the family said in a letter to the county. “People, in greater numbers than they already do, will inevitably spill over to our property when the park is full or just to explore, exacerbating the trespassing, off-leash dogs, littering, theft and vandalism problems.
“To follow, noise levels increases with greater public access. We will experience huge loss of privacy due to the close proximity of this park expansion to the portion of our property that we use.
“People will walk on our property and through our camping/recreation site to either return to the original Davidson Park or to continue on their hike through our property.”
Glenna Healey appeared before council during the public hearing to reiterate the family’s concerns.
Reeve Angela Aalbers said, “I believe our county staff can do a good job in monitoring the environmental significance of this property. I think that one of the mandates of council is to include quality of life for residents and providing a healthy environment for all of our residents.
“I understand that there may be some potential impacts to those that are around, but we do and we must look at the wider impact to our overall population. So I will support this, knowing our administration will do a fantastic job in how both operations and agriculture look after this property.”
Councillors also passed a motion instructing administration to monitor the environmental health of the property going forward, including a baseline assessment after three years.