Blasting operations on the Elevation Pointe development on Latoria Road have raised concerns among nearby residents. Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff

Colwood could address resident complaints about blasting in new Official Community Plan

Residents show preference for developments that incorporate natural features

Concerns over nearby blasting activities have been raised by residents at multiple Colwood committee and council meetings over the past month, but the issue has been on the City’s radar for much longer than that.

As the municipality prepares to update its Official Community Plan later this year, future developments could face increased limitations with regards to neighbourhood design.

“We have heard quite clearly from the community that this type of hillside development that requires significant blasting is not broadly supported going forward,” noted Coun. Rob Martin. “There is a move toward neighbourhood design that integrates the built environment into the local landscape, makes use of ecosystem services, and preserves natural features like urban forests, rock faces and watersheds.”

In Colwood’s Making Waves survey, conducted earlier this year, 58 per cent of respondents said they prefer hillside development that fits into the natural environment and 40 per cent favour maintaining the natural environment in its original state.

Just two per cent said they favour hillside development using retaining walls.

Development within the confines of the natural environment can save municipalities money, Martin added, noting that natural stormwater flows are preferred over building new infrastructure which can come with significant long-term price tags.

In May of last year, council approved regulations that will force developers to acquire a permit for retaining walls higher than 1.2 metres.

Late last month, several residents of a Propeller Place residential complex complained of lost blasting notices, inaudible blasting signals and damage to their homes as a result of work on the Elevation Pointe development on nearby Latoria Road.

“We already have a significant crack across our crawl space floor, our fireplace tiles are being held in place with duct tape and our kitchen cabinets are falling away from the wall,” one resident claimed.

John Newton, president and general manager for Homewood Constructors, which is developing a portion of the Elevation Pointe project, said in an interview that the company recognizes there have been blasting issues in the past.

An expected 11 or 12-month preparation period for the project has taken more than two years due to the amount of rock at the site, he said.

Blasting issues were also raised last fall by residents of nearby Coleman Place.

-with files from Don Descoteau

Email: joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter: @joelgazette

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