Dysart approves Kennisis shoreline rezoning

·2 min read

Dysart et al council approved a controversial rezoning of an “open space” property on Kennisis Lake March 23.

Council voted to rezone the property owned by the Rieger family from open space to waterfront residential (WR). The zoning is intended to be used for a cottage development closer to the shore on the 2.9- acre property, though with a 30-metre setback from the high-water mark.

But the application garnered several letters of opposition, including from the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association (KLCOA). It argued development through any further rezoning of open space or environmentally protected areas could harm water quality.

“We have clear evidence that the water quality in our lakes is declining as indicated by the increase in levels of nutrients that we have been measuring,” the KLCOA said. “Additional development beyond the current approved zoning WR areas will put further pressure on our lakes and on our effort to maintain good water quality.”

Municipal staff said the property was municipally-owned but sold in 1988 while maintaining its zoning. Planner Jeff Iles said the lake is not designated as at capacity or highly sensitive. Staff reported that based on site evaluation, they do not believe the project would impact ecological features.

Agent Kim Roberts of Greg Bishop Surveying and Consulting appeared on behalf of the applicant. She said the lot owner intends to accommodate more of her family and five grandchildren.

“We’re able to keep it in a way that’s respectful of all the sightlines of the lake, that keeps the shoreline naturalized,” Rogers said. “The goal here is not to build a mega cottage to rent out on Airbnb.”

Other letters repeated environmental concerns. Some opposed the change based on community use of the area.

“This is one of the few remaining quiet bays without any cottages on Kennisis Lake where the community can kayak, enjoy the quiet space, fishing,” Maggie Stoklosa and Kamil Mokosinski wrote.

Iles said the municipality has considered the property developable in official plans since 2001.

Mayor Andrea Roberts said there is a misunderstanding about the history of the property and that just because it was designated open space, does not mean it was not intended for land development.

“You can still kayak through Back Bay,” Roberts said. “We’re not controlling the water; we’re controlling the land use.”

Coun. John Smith said the council erred in 1988 and could have kept the land under public ownership. But with the land sold, it made sense to allow for the rezoning. He also said the site plan agreement was rigorous.

“I would suggest there’s not a single lot on Kennisis that will meet the standards that this lot will have to meet,” Smith said. “That’s a very positive aspect of it.”

Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander