The owners of Apple Beach RV Park in Oliver are seeking to rezone the property because the business has become “economically unviable.”
James and Catherine Hodge approached Town council on Monday with a plan to change the property’s rezoning to accommodate single-family homes (RS1). The property at 915 Bulrush Road is currently zoned CT1 (tourist commercial).
James cited increased competition and the age of the campground as reasons for it no longer being viable. He also noted that his arborist recommended the removal of the willow/cottonwood trees due to decay.
James added that the campground is located three kilometres from the highway and the Town, and there is no sidewalk or access to any walking trail.
“The small muddy beach on my property is not suited to swimming (in Tucelnuit Lake) . . . you sink knee-deep in mud.”
The proprietor said it was suggested by the Town that he rezone the property to allow the construction of a hotel, which Oliver needs. But he pointed out that a hotel isn’t viable either and that financing is not available.
The Hodges suggest an RS1 zone as this reflects the zoning of their residential neighbours at that end of the lake.
James said he would be happy developing something similar to Gallagher Lake Village Park or Desert Canyon Resort. He consulted with realtors who advised him that there is little appetite for townhouses in a location so far removed from town.
He said his neighbours would not like to see duplexes or townhouses on the lake. “It is also my desire to continue to live in the same residence, and I don’t want to upset my neighbours.”
But doing nothing and leaving the campground vacant is not the best use of the property, he pointed out.
James said he has completed a riparian assessment, which has confirmed there are no issues with the development of land and the effect it may have on the lake’s environment. He noted that any buildings would be located well outside the riparian area.
The Hodges’ application includes 10 large lots for single-family homes, with plenty of parking.
“We see the building of the new Oliver prison and feel a rezoning could create housing, which would benefit the many families employed at the new jail,” James said.
He said their immediate plans are to operate the campground for a few more years.
Heidi Frank, the Town’s chief administrative officer, said staff are struggling with this proposal because there is a desire to keep a “business sense” in the community.
Mayor Ron Hovanes said land mass in Oliver is relatively scarce.
Town planner Christopher Garrish said this is the only property within the Town that is zoned CT1.
He noted the rezoning application would amend the Official Community Plan (pertaining to this property) from tourist commercial to low density residential.
Garrish said adjacent development is characterized by single detached dwellings, and that “additional residential land is required in order to meet the Town’s long-term growth projections.”
But he pointed out there are a limited number of properties in Oliver designated tourist commercial and that low density residential development “may not be the best use of a scare resource.”