Heading out towards the recycling depot and well beyond, you can see the undeveloped land of Lot 1 on the west side of Mt. Gardner Rd. It surrounds the Public Works Yard and gas station. Lot 1 was rezoned in October 2018.
Two rezoning bylaws were adopted on October 18, 2018:
Bylaw No.432, 2017 amended the Official Community Plan designation from “Rural” to a combination of “Light Industrial, Rural Residential and Village Periphery.”
Bylaw No.433, 2017 amended the zoning in the Land Use Bylaw from “Rural Residential 1” to “Comprehensive Development 21”, with four “sub-areas”.
More background information about the rezoning process can be found under Background Information, below.
As you can see on the map below, Lot 1 has four distinct areas. It is a mix of residential, light manufacturing and contractor services.
Area 1: Residential, Light Industrial and Artisanal uses
Area 1 is the largest parcel at just over six acres. Area 1 allows for residential and other uses including workshops, warehouses, live/work spaces and businesses that require large interior spaces. As you read the uses, you will also notice the restrictions. Things like noise, odour and disturbance will be strictly controlled.
Part of the Islands Trust philosophy is the desire to create a level of economic autonomy on each island. Having local industry reduces our dependence on the major urban centres nearby.
What about Artisan Square?
Planning for Artisan Square on Bowen Island began in the late 1980s. The first building was a brewery with two apartments above. The second building was an addition to the brewery along with a food condiment producer and packager. Again, there were two apartments above. The third building housed a sign-making shop, a wine-making shop, a flooring contractor, a jeweler, various offices and two more apartments.
Today, Artisan Square is completely built out. It has moved far beyond the original artisanal workshops originally envisioned, yet the need and desire for local employment areas remains.
Over the last 30 years, real estate values in our region have undergone a profound change. The value of land for residential development far exceeds what can be garnered from contractor’s shops and mini storage. Municipalities throughout the Lower Mainland are striving to hold on to their light manufacturing areas while developers are asking to re-zone land for residential use. Whistler zoned an area called Function Junction specifically to provide land for small-scale service industries.
Lot 1 can supply the land needed not only for artisanal manufacturing but also for the services every community needs. A key component is to provide reasonably priced large interior spaces with high ceilings. But more importantly, the Municipality would retain ownership of the land and have control over everything built.
Our Official Community Plan, updated in 2010, encourages local stakeholders to propose an area for light industrial uses. It notes the desirability of businesses providing these services in a single location instead of scattered across the island.
As you will see below, the topography of Lot 1 is most favourable for building in Area 1 because it has the most level ground. The steep slope along the eastern edge of Area 1 would create a natural barrier between the light industrial area and the school to the northeast.
Area 2: Residential, up to 20 homes
Area 2 is just over four acres, above a forested area with agricultural land to the west and Belterra Co-Housing to the south. It is zoned for 20 attached homes. It has water, electricity and road access nearby and is near Island Pacific School and Cates Hill Chapel. We feel that its size, orientation and location make it ideal for a small residential neighbourhood. It could potentially be used for co-op housing.
Area 3: Rural Residential (Land Bank)
Area 3 contains riparian areas along two creeks, surrounds the Public Works yard and has some areas where detailed analysis has not yet been done. It remains zoned Rural Residential and in our land bank.
Area 4: Rural Residential, one dwelling
Area 4 is a small piece of land at the tip of Lot 1, farthest away from Snug Cove and on the other side of Guild Creek. It is in the Agricultural Land Reserve and surrounded on three sides by Crippen Park. The intention for this area is to create a single residential lot and sell the property. Any proceeds from the sale can go towards capital projects such as the Community Centre on Lot 2.
Where are we now?
The Mayor’s Standing Committee on Community Lands (MSCCL) has been tasked to provide advice and recommendations to Council on ensuring community benefits result from the Community Lands and developing a high-level overview of the best uses of the Community Lands. Please read the MSCCL Terms of Reference for more information.