Highlands is one step closer to building its long-awaited community centre.
Council passed bylaws on July 18 allowing resident Fred York to gift 20-acres of land to the District in exchange for allowing him to subdivide his property.
York plans to divide two adjacent properties at the intersection of Millstream Road and Finlayson Arm Road into 11 lots, each between three and five acres. The 90 acres, including land for the community centre, is still subject to rezoning.
The land gifted to Highlands, which is the eastern portion of York’s property at Millstream and Finlayson Arm roads, is the favoured site for the future community centre.
The District needs to break ground soon — a provincial grant for the building project expires in March 2013. The grant will cover 80 per cent of the cost of the centre or up to $400,000.
“We only have two or three letters on file in opposition,” noted Coun. Sigurd Johannesen. “If I look at this (application) without a community centre I think I can support it, so by adding a community centre it’s just a bonus.”
During the public hearing last week, council heard plenty of community support for the project.
Supporters spoke of the need for a community hall and the generosity of York offering the land to the community.
“Communities are built on crossroads,” Highlands resident Neville Grigg told council. “The plan makes sense.”
Some residents are concerned over the construction of future homes and whether they would meet progressive environmental standards. The proposed single family dwellings are already “over represented in the Highlands,” remarked resident Pattie Whitehouse.
Former Highlands mayor Mark Cardinal spoke in support of the project.
“I wish in my time (on council) that we has an application that was this so easy to decide on as this application,” Cardinal said. “This is something the community has long deserved.”