New Update from FNS Board of Directors re: Galloway Lands Application
Hello members! We have received a lot of questions, concerns and requests for information regarding the Galloway Lands proposal put forward by Handshake Holdings. The purpose of this update is to provide you with all the information we have and encourage you to participate in the formal processes outline below. Consider this a round-up of everything we know to date, and what opportunities exist for you to participate directly. We represent the nordic community, but recognize that our members will have a variety of perspectives and opinions, so please read to find out how you can get involved.
Context and recent activity
As a follow up to our previous newsletter and blog post (see here), we are providing our members with an update on the Galloway Lands development proposal (full application also linked from our blog post).
First and foremost, as we stated in November, this is private land and we are incredibly grateful for the relationship we have with the current landowner and the privilege we have to continue to access and operate on his property. Bud Nelson has supported our club’s use of the land for over 6 years and we have worked hard to be responsible and respectful users of the land. We intend to continue to work in partnership with landowners currently and into the future for the benefit of our nordic skiing community in a way that reflects our core values.
In a recent Free Press article, it was indicated that FNS had a number of concerns regarding the development application. We have been engaging with the consultant for the Galloway Lands application and are maintaining an open dialogue about the primary concerns related to the trails which are also summarized in our blog post and include: road crossings, safe public access/amenities, trail connectivity and environmental stewardship. In addition, we have communicated concerns raised by members around the process, specifically regarding some of the more complex elements of covenants and their design and enforcement.
We are also aware of concerns that have been raised by different groups that represent broader perspectives beyond nordic skiing, and reflect some of the values we know our members hold, such as environmental stewardship. Their concerns and a list of ways for the public to remain engaged in the formal process are summarized at www.rethinkgalloway.com. We expand on the formal process in the section below.
Recently, all of these issues were discussed with the Galloway Lands consultant and further information was provided regarding process, concerns that have been raised to date, and plans for public engagement. The FAQs section on the www.gallowaylands.com site has been updated to include clarification on some of the concerns that have been raised by our Board and the broader public. FNS will be submitting additional requests for clarification in advance of the Open House, specifically with regards to the conditions under which some of the commitments would be compromised (e.g., what financial implications would make additional elements such as tunnels or the proposed non-profit not feasible?), what enforcement mechanisms exist to support them, and what, if any, interruption to trail access would occur during construction should the application be approved.
Open House – Proponent-led
We have received information regarding an online Open House taking place this week (pivot from previously scheduled in-person events due to covid restrictions). Note that this engagement is facilitated by the applicant, while the public input period (written submissions and Public Hearing) indicated in the process outlined below will be facilitated by the RDEK. It is at that point that any comments from the public would become part of the formal record.
This event will provide an overview of the plans, as well as question and answer. Please see the detailed information and ensure you register in advance to participate:
Handshake Holdings Inc. invites you to attend a virtual open house regarding our proposal for the Galloway Lands.
The open house is scheduled for Thursday 6 January 2022 at 6:00pm via Zoom. The open house will include an overview of the proposed development and answers to questions from community members.
To submit a question for the open house, please send to: email@example.com. We will also accept questions on the night of the open house as time permits.
Advance Registration for this webinar is required. To register go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KVa1OhTGQWi8afSmqhHg7A
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Please share this email with anyone in the community that may be interested in our proposal.
RDEK Application Process
In response to concerns and confusion regarding the application and review process, the following detailed list has been provided by the Galloway Lands consultant and verified by the RDEK. Dates for the specific events will be communicated to our members as they are confirmed.
- Submission of application for zoning / OCP amendment submitted to RDEK.
- RDEK send application for referral to required agencies and affected parties.
- RDEK staff review application and work with applicant to refine application and determine what covenants and other commitments are required to support the application. These additional covenants and other commitments become part of the Request for Decision prepared by RDEK staff and provided to the Board for consideration at 1st reading of the bylaws. The Request for Decision includes the options available to the Board, an overview of the OCP and zoning policies applicable to the application and all covenants and other commitments offered by the proponent. These covenants then form part of the requirement for approval of the application by the RDEK Board.
- RDEK – 1st and 2nd Reading of proposed bylaws. Application is either approved to proceed to public hearing or is defeated by the Board.
- RDEK – The RDEK collects written submissions from the public which comment on the application (either in favour, or in opposition, or just stating concerns).
- RDEK – Public Hearing to obtain formal feedback from public about the application.
- RDEK Staff prepare a Public Hearing Report that is provided to RDEK Board for consideration at 3rd reading of the bylaws. Public Hearing Report includes copies of letters submitted by the public as well as a summary of verbal statements made at the public hearing.
- RDEK – 3rd Reading of proposed bylaws. Application is defeated or approved by RDEK Board.
- Applicant registers Development Agreement / Covenants on title to the lands. Certain covenants can be registered at this stage of the process and others are registered at subdivision. Where possible covenants are registered at this stage. If a covenant cannot be registered at this stage, the development agreement is a legal requirement to register these covenants at the subdivision stage of the project.
- MOTI approval of bylaws.
- RDEK – Adoption of bylaws. Note that this step does not proceed until the development agreement / covenants are registered on title and the proponent provides confirmation of registration to the RDEK (i.e., updated titles showing covenant has been registered).
- The RDEK will again review the covenants and development agreement registered on title at subdivision of the lands to ensure that all commitments are being upheld. Failure to abide by the covenants and development agreement will result in refusal to approve the subdivision. RDEK sign-off is required by MOTI for all subdivisions.
The FNS Board will continue to represent its members through the RDEK review process and in discussions with the developer. Individual FNS members are encouraged to review the developer’s application and the comments from other community groups, present their own concerns, and participate in engagement opportunities as they arise.
Previous Update issued on November 12
As committed to at our Annual General Meeting this summer, we are providing an update on the application for the proposed development of the Galloway property.
Last year, the FNS Board was informed by the Galloway property landowner that a conditional offer had been received for the Galloway property. We were then contacted by Reto Barrington of Handshake Holdings confirming his intent to apply for rezoning and apply for a residential development on the property. Note that the ‘Galloway Lands’ referred to include the land on which the Grunt/partial Runt and Galloway Loop exist as well as the connecting trails to the Fernie Alpine Resort.
At the AGM we:
- Provided Mr. Barrington’s letter assuring no change or interruption to the 2021/2022 ski season;
- Committed to continued engagement and partnership with the landowner;
- Committed to providing formal application information to our members once released by the Regional District of East Kootenay.
Last month, we received a package from Development Services at the RDEK with the attached application for the ‘Galloway Lands’ development and were encouraged by the RDEK to share the application and process with our membership.
The RDEK also provided us with the following general timeline for the formal process to be communicated to our members:
- RDEK sends referral packages out to other agencies for comment – October.
- Public “open house” or some sort of similar consultation event hosted by the applicant – late November, early December.
- Bylaws presented to the RDEK Board of Directors for the first time – January 2022, and if advanced, a public hearing to be held late January.
- If the bylaw is advanced to a public hearing, the RDEK will collect formal public comments on the proposal at that time.
Any changes to these timelines or formal dates established for Open Houses, etc. will be communicated to our membership.
The FNS Board of Directors wishes to reiterate the role we play in this process, and the role/opportunity of our greater membership in reviewing and participating.
- These lands are private. FNS continues to work with Bud Nelson as the current landowner for our continued access, which is also supported and confirmed by Mr. Barrington as per his letter provided at our AGM. It is a privilege, not a right, to have access to this property and we are very grateful for the ongoing partnership with the landowner. We are thankful also for the partnership with The Cedars and Mount Fernie Provincial Park for the access via the Mount Fernie Provincial Park corridor.
- The FNS Board are reviewing and discussing the application with a focus on compatibility with the experience we aim to provide our members and visitors. It is our understanding that it is the intent of the Galloway Lands developer to retain public access for nordic skiing as part of the development, with a covenant to be placed on those trails for continued public access.
- Our primary concern is to ensure that trails in which we invest public and membership funds for maintenance, grooming and programming are compatible with our primary mission of the FNS, which is: Providing exceptional cross country skiing opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages. Through this lens we are seeking to understand how an exceptional experience can be maintained from an operational, programming and user perspective. This includes considerations of road crossings, maintaining safe public access, trail connectivity and environmental stewardship.
- We have met with the consultant for the Galloway Lands application for a preliminary discussion on some of the considerations regarding continued trail access for FNS members and the general public, and will continue to engage as additional information is released by the developer. We will participate in the Open House to be hosted in the near future and encourage our members to participate through that process.