Current Revelstoke city councillors conclude last meeting, important decisions ahead for new council

As the current Revelstoke City Council concludes their last meeting, the newly elected councillors have a lot of work ahead of them, including decisions on RMR's bylaw amendment request to increase density in their development areas.

During their last meeting, the 2018-2022 council received the first Canadian Legion poppies of the year. From left to right: Councillor Cherlet, Councillor Brooks-Hill, Councillor Rhind, Mayor Sulz, Vice President of the Royal Canadian Legion Gale Bernaki, CAO Evan Parliment, Councillor Elliot, and Councillor Palmer. Photo: City of Revelstoke

The current Revelstoke City Council concluded their last regular meeting yesterday, October 25, 2022. On November 1, the newly elected councillors will take seats at the table.

The council has served since 2018 and made many important community decisions, including approving a new Official Community Plan (OCP) and Housing Action Plan.

In the latest council meeting on October 25, the council voted to approve free transit service during Revelstoke Welcome Week hosted by the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce and during New Year’s Eve. The council shared final thoughts on how to improve Revelstoke’s transportation system before approving the motion.

Watch the October 25 council meeting here:

However, some recent decisions deferred will be up to the new council. In addition, many members are new to politics, so the electees have a lot of work ahead.

One such decision is Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2346, which appeared before the council at the October 11 meeting. The bylaw amendment would allow the proponent, Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR), to increase density in lands zoned CD 08 located to the south, east, and northeast of the Arrow Heights Neighbourhood.

The amendment would allow RMR flexible density within their ten development areas; something city Lead Planning and Development Services staff Paul Simon says would enable the proponent better utilization of existing space.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s ten development areas are shown here. The amendment proposes allowing RMR to allocate density from Area 1 to other areas. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Each development area is allocated a certain amount of density, including residential units and commercial space. RMR cannot currently shift density between development areas. However, according to Simon’s staff report, the amendment would allow up to 30% of the density from Area 1 to be reallocated, so long as no more than 15% is reallocated to any one development area.

This would allow RMR to build housing in areas previously slated for other purposes.

Areas four and five were previously slated for golf course development purposes, but RMR would like to rezone them following plans to move the golf course from its initial location. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

“This is now starting to impact everyday life for many people, especially in the Arrow Heights area,” says Councillor Tim Palmer. “I think this warrants a lot more conversation.”

Other council members disagree with Palmer, such as councillor Elliot who was concerned about stalling the process.

Mayor Sulz said he believes the amendment would benefit the community and present an opportunity for locals to purchase homes. However, Councillor Rhind expressed concern over allowing RMR the density flexibility without offering a plan for the neighbourhood in advance. Similarly, Councillor Brooks-Hill said that approving the amendment would greatly benefit the resort but provide a small benefit to the community.

Watch the October 11 council meeting here:

City staff member Paul Simon said that while RMR is expected to initiate the neighbourhood planning process, it is not required. He also informed the council that the area could be hyper-densified in the future, with 2,742 dwelling units built, if flexible development isn’t allowed.

Council voted to amend RMR’s request for a first reading of the amendment by approving the first reading but requiring a Committee of the Whole to meet with the RMR team before a second reading.

Ultimately, the decision to move to a public hearing and approve the amendment will fall on the newly elected council once they are sworn in on November 1, 2022.

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Nora Hughes is a recent graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Interdisciplinary Program, where she combined her passions for Adventure Tourism, Communications and Journalism. With a strong interest in community news, Nora is passionate about giving a voice and face to the people of Revelstoke through storytelling.