Horse Lake development zoning defended

New area representative clarifies board considerations

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) directors voted unanimously in favour of South Cariboo Official Community Plan (OCP) amendments for new Country Residential zoning at Horse Lake.

CRD Area L Director Brian Coakley lives on Horse Lake and says he has no problem with the OCP change to allow further lot subdivision and development along its shoreline.

Some residents on the lake have spoken out in protest against the change and attended a recent public hearing armed with both a Ministry of Environment (MOE) letter and a lake water report that recommend further study prior to any additional development there.

CRD planning staff has also maintained its opposition to this change. (Read story on page A6 of the Dec. 25 edition of the 100 Mile House Free Press.)

However, Coakley says residents’ comments from the hearing and written submissions to the CRD were considered in the directors’ decision.

“There were more people in favour of it than were against it.”

At the time it was initially applied for and reviewed, his predecessor Bruce Rattray had voted against allowing this re-designation of waterfront lands within 200 metres of Horse Lake.

Back then, it was slated to permit the creation of up to 190 potential new lots (at a minimum of 0.8 hectares) across four subdivisions on the lake’s south side.

A number of these have since been pulled out of the rezoning plan, Coakley says, adding he believes only 20 new lots could feasibly be created due to the steep terrain involved with the majority of the affected land.

With the new requirement for engineered septic systems (showing no detrimental lake impacts) located at least 60 metres from the lake, the bigger issue to him is finding a way to deal with old septic systems that don’t meet modern standards, he explains.

“There are houses that have been there for 50 or 60 years that don’t even have a septic tank – they just dug a hole in the ground and that was it. So how do you get around that?

“I don’t know what the process is to: A – prove that they don’t work; and B – prove that something has to be done to make them work.”

Coakley says people with concerns about the lake water could have their own tests done at a lab or by the health authority.

The area’s drinking water comes from the Horse Lake Water System reservoir, which is regularly tested and meets the health code, he adds.

“You’d be kind of crazy to drink the [lake] water…. I wouldn’t drink any of the water there unless it’s been tested.”

Coakley notes all the usual government approvals, including MOE, were obtained in the CRD’s review process.