A public hearing was held on May 25 with the purpose of discussing the proposed passing of a zoning bylaw. The reason for the proposed amendment is to zone Lot 22, Block 41 (area south and east of the south end of 5th street east) from CS Community Service District to R-1 Residential.
Twelve residents were in attendance to discuss the proposed bylaw with council. Members presented a number of concerns and posed a number of questions regarding the rezoning. The residents stated that if the land was to be rezoned, there would be better use of the land than that of residential.
One of these concerns included the immediate need for recreational space and questions regarding what council's short-term and long-term plans are to address this growing concern. The land that is proposed to be rezoned is in close proximity to the current ball diamonds. Residents view this as a potential expansion area for recreational facilities that would address this concern. Council stated that available space exists in proximity to the lagoon that would allow for new diamonds to be developed. Long-term plans would include an expansion of Lions Park.
Concerns regarding the lack of parking in Lions Park were discussed. Council stated that they would be bringing a road in their long-term vision. Short-term plans include taking out the tennis courts and using that area, and north of that area, for tennis courts. The Council stated that at this time, the tennis courts are too much money to maintain.
The town was then asked why council is proceeding without the consultation of volunteer and recreational organizations. The lack of consultation and communication with community members regarding their needs was a common theme throughout the evening. Council stated that recreational organizations need to bring their concerns to the table and that decisions made at the table, were made to the best of the council's ability with the information they are provided.
It was at this point, that it was stated that council needs to look at the possibility of hiring a recreational director. Residents presented the idea of having a paid position for a recreation director. Council stated that they have a $150,000 budget for recreational facilities and that efforts have been made to make recreation a priority. They claimed that by nature, council tends to move slowly as items need to be passed at council regular meetings, which occur twice monthly.
Residents stated that Carlyle needs land for residential use. Those in attendance asked if there was land available for this purpose. Council stated that they are current in negotiation with the RM about the rezoning of town boundaries to expand the area available.
One resident stated that they are deeply concerned about the potential rezoning of Lot 22 Block 41. Their issue is with the consultation process and that this hearing could have been avoided if that had been the first step. The resident continued with the fact that recreational groups should have been consulted first to determine whether the organizations wanted to develop. The resident continued with a number of points from an article on "ways to ensure your community will not survive," to provide some food for thought for the council members. The resident finished with "the desires of one should not take over the needs of many."
Another resident discussed the lack of bathroom facilities at Lions Park. A representative from Lions Park stated that there is no reason why these facilities would be established if the Town Council's plan is to move Lions Park. One council member acknowledged that ball has been let go of a bit. Reasoning for this focused on the sport's short playing season. One resident responded that if Carlyle had nice facilities, provincials could be held in the community which, in turn, would bring revenue into the community. This year, Carlyle has 19 teams and many of the teams extend their season into July because of Provincials. This means that the sports teams are playing a longer season. Without adequate bathrooms and a kitchen, the resident stated that the community cannot host these types of events.
One community member stated that the recreational facilities should be kept together. Facilities spread throughout the community only make it harder for residents, their children and for those organizing events.
At that point, the purchasers of Lot 22, Block 41 spoke to the Council and those in attendance. The individuals stated that they did not have any intention of their lot purchase becoming a problem. They stated their understanding of the concerns presented at the meeting, but indicated that they are now in an unpleasant situation as well. Town responded that the prospective residents came to the town requesting a larger piece of land than what is typical of the current lots. The town stated that the land was never going to be future recreational land, so that the sale seemed appropriate.
Following the public hearing and the feedback received from the public, Town Council will now proceed with their third reading of the bylaw.