Proposed Centre Lake subdivision in Highlands East one step closer
By Chad Ingram
Highlands East council is supporting the lifting and conveyance of a 200-foot, Crown-owned reserve around the circumference of Centre Lake, which would potentially allow for a subdivision to be constructed on a 1,000-acre property abutting the lake.
As the municipality’s planning consultant Chris Jones explained to councillors during a Dec. 10 meeting, back during the mining era, the provincial government established 200-foot buffers around lakes in areas where mining was taking place, as a form of shoreline protection.
“What the Crown did was hold back 200 feet off this lake, and I’m sure others,” Jones said, noting that while the minerals are still there, mining activities have long since ceased.
The abutting property owner would like to proceed with a subdivision application on the property, however, would require the conveyance of that buffer from the provincial government for that application to proceed. Because of the buffer, the lake is essentially undeveloped.
As Jones explained, the applicant was looking for a resolution from council in support of that conveyance, and also, as a requirement of the province’s process, indication that development on the property would result in positive economic development for Highlands East. It’s estimated the proposed subdivision would generate $100,000 a year in property taxes.
“To put it in perspective, Centre Lake has been waiting in the dugout for their chance at bat,” said John Ariens, planning consultant for the property owner. As Ariens explained, a previous attempt to have the Crown reserve conveyed was unsuccessful, in light of a public access point to the lake located within it. Ariens said part of the plan for the proposed subdivision included an upgrading of that public access.
“It’s an integral part of the redevelopment of Centre Lake,” he said.
As part of the provincial process, the applicant will also consult with the local First Nations community, and have an environmental assessment performed.
Council was supportive, passing resolution in favour and declaring that the proposed subdivision would provide economic benefit to the community. The subdivision proposal itself, should it proceed, would come before council and be subject to the municipality’s regular planning process.