Council has abandoned plans to develop Glenview Park for housing. (File photo)

Princeton council abandons plans to develop Glenview Park

There will be no referendum over park versus housing

Princeton council has abandoned a plan to turn Glenview Park, on third bench, into a subdivision.

The decision was made during a council special meeting held Aug. 4.

Sharron Basanti, who spearheaded a campaign to save the park, expressed satisfaction with the vote.

“I felt that the voice of citizens was finally heard and acknowledged,” she said.

In June, the town announced it would seek permission, through the Alternative Approval Process (AAP), to remove the park designation from an acre of land, used by some in the community as a greenspace.

Related: Princeton town hall promises park space in proposed Glenview subdivision

The town owns the property, and hoped to subdivide it into eight lots – one lot for parkland, with the rest dedicated to mid-priced housing.

Under the AAP, 10 per cent of the electorate – 228 people – needed to fill out a from registering objection, in order to stall the move.

The deadline was July 13, and a total of 242 eligible forms were submitted, equally 10.6 per cent of voters.

While town staff recommended that council drop the proposal at its July 20 meeting, Coun. Randy McLean moved for a report on a possible referendum, which is an allowable outcome under the AAP.

Staff came back with the same recommendation of rescinding a proposed bylaw to remove the land’s park designation.

A referendum would have cost approximately $5,000 and would have had to be held before Oct. 1.

Basanti and another local woman, Kathy Simpkins, formed Supporters of Princeton Parks shortly after the municipality launched the AAP.

They held meetings, created a Facebook group, and protested with signs in front of town hall.

Related: Women stage protest outside town hall to preserve Glenview Park

“Raising awareness about the AAP contributed to the park being saved. Fellow citizens didn’t even know the park was under threat, so connecting with the community was the key. If awareness hadn’t been raised, the park would have been doomed,” said Basanti.

The decision to not pursue development for the land coincides with what Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne and other members of council are calling a “housing crisis.”

Last month, a consultant’s report found that Princeton lacks every aspect of housing, and has a less than one per cent vacancy rate for rental accommodations.

Basanti said the park group will now lobby for improvements to Glenview.

“Supporters of Princeton Parks wants to work with town hall to revitalize the park. The road ahead is long, as the real work is now about to start. I, and others, hope that council members and the mayor will support the revitalization of the park through community involvement and open dialogue.”

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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