Chilliwack city council's approval of a rezoning application Tuesday might have surprised many as neighbourhood opposition to the plan was near universal.
Fifty-six people signed a petition against the 30-to-40 single family home development to be located on three Dogwood Drive properties.
A large number of residents from Dogwood and who live on Luckakuck Creek came to council to express opposition, which was in some cases tempered, in others fervent.
But the six city councillors (Mayor Sharon Gaetz was not present and lives on Dogwood) approved the development, seemingly rejecting concerns of residents.
After hours of hearing opposition to the plan based on increased traffic and downstream damage to Luckakuck Creek, Coun. Sue Attrill even said she "wholeheartedly" supported the rezoning.
And while many, most, maybe all of the neighbours' concerns are valid, it really shouldn't come as a surprise this highly prodevelopment council voted the way it did. But pro-development or not, Chilliwack is growing quickly. The city's Official Community Plan looks to densify many areas of the city, not just downtown.
The populated area of Chilliwack is shaped a little like a sausage, pinched in on all sides by farmland protected-as it should be-by the ALR.
More people are coming to Chilliwack and they will need places to live. Development can do one of three things: go on ALR, go into the hillsides or densify.
The first option is pretty much a nonstarter. The second is expensive, but many developers are doing precisely that. And densification, especially inside the sausage, is key to the future of Chilliwack's growth.
It would grossly oversimplify things to suggest NIMBYism was at work among neighbours Tuesday. There are legitimate concerns that developer Larry Les better address with regards to the natural environment in the area.
But residents everywhere should take note: Densification is coming-everywhere.
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