Council approves temporary use permit for new staff housing

Due process, noise, safety, community aesthetics, and property values were among the top concerns of those attending the public hearing and the following regular council meeting on Nov. 21 regarding Sun Peaks Resort LLP’s (SPR) new staff housing units.

Council approved the required Temporary Use Permit after passing several resolutions outlining conditions which must be met by the resort.

The public hearing was well attended by community members, especially by property owners in Burfield Heights, the closest development to the staff housing area.

Peter Nixon, real estate development manager for SPR, responded to concerns during the hearing by emphasizing the temporary nature of the structures, assuring there would be an onsite property manager and stating their willingness to work alongside affected homeowners to create solutions for ski access, aesthetics, landscaping and noise issues.

Darcy Alexander, municipal councillor and vice president and general manager of SPR, said during the council meeting that the choice to proceed with the contract was made before the resort discovered the temporary use permit was required, as the site was already zoned for light industrial use and for staff housing. He said commencing installation before final municipal approval was granted was needed to keep the resort operational and to free up other units around the community to house independent businesses’ staff.

“I have to take the responsibility for making the decision to proceed,” Alexander said. “We made the decision to continue because we didn’t have much choice.”

He also added that the resort had agreed not to occupy the structure until the final permit had been approved.

Mayor Al Raine said that he appreciated the feedback from the community and apologized for any issues caused by the last minute development.

“The spirit of due process has been comprised,” said Raine. “We certainly would like to apologize to the community.”

The resolutions adopted prior to approving the temporary use permit included:

  • The term of the permit will be three years or less, with no extensions permitted
  • Council will commit to the introduction of a Sun Peaks Housing Authority within 12 months
  • Council will adopt a Development Cost Charge Strategy to be passed on to all developers on new projects going forward
  • SPR must submit Official Community Plan amendments, including the identification of any parcels of land available for the new housing authority within 12 months to council
  • SPR must submit written approval of an onsite manager
  • SPR must provide council with a copy of their employee agreement, which stipulates immediate disciplinary action if employee housing regulations are not followed
  • SPR must commit to working with Burfield Heights owners to create and enforce a plan to ensure resort employees are not trespassing on private property
  • A fence with screening must be installed on the Sun Peaks Road side of the installation
  • SPR and Sun Peaks Fire Rescue must remove the current vehicle compound site
  • SPR must provide an indemnification letter stating SPMRM will not be held liable for any building code violations or safety issues on site, and SPR will be solely responsible