GetIntoItHarrison is a website designed to increase civic engagement related to upcoming major projects. It was recently used to conduct a vacant land use survey, which yielded 78 responses. (Screenshot/Harrison Hot Springs)

GetIntoItHarrison is a website designed to increase civic engagement related to upcoming major projects. It was recently used to conduct a vacant land use survey, which yielded 78 responses. (Screenshot/Harrison Hot Springs)

Harrison residents weigh in on vacant land use possibilities

Results of a 28-day survey are in

A small number of Harrison Hot Springs residents made their voices heard about potential paths for vacant land at Miami River Drive.

In early November, the village launched GetIntoItHarrison.ca, a website geared toward gathering public input for upcoming projects, the first of which involving vacant land on Miami River Drive and Hot Springs Road. Village Council reviewed the results of the land use survey during their final meeting of 2020.

This land was meant to be the subject of a public meeting, but village officials changed direction from a standard public meeting to an online platform, the data of which was recently presented to council.

RELATED: Harrison Hot Springs launches civic engagement website

Past suggestions for the use of the land included a civic or community centre, parking, public works buildings or a recreation centre.

The survey was distributed online and through direct mail-out copies. After 28 days, 78 residents responded. While this is a higher turnout than surveys concerning the master plan for the lagoon and the resort development strategy, 78 responses still only represents six per cent of eligible voters in the village.

Most responses were residents while four businesses participated along with a non-profit agency. Nearly all respondents were homeowners with five renters. Three respondents were seasonal residents. Approximately 36 per cent of respondents were seniors while almost half have lived in the village for more than 10 years.

More than 70 per cent of respondents would like at least part of the land to be used as a park, while there was a resounding “no” for the land to be used for arts and cultural purposes.

RELATED: Harrison Council fields online engagement, Zoom questions

Survey respondents also declined to use the land as affordable housing for seniors. Only two respondents wanted at least part of the land devoted to housing for seasonal workers while the majority was not in favour.

A small percentage asked for commercial space, and about 35 per cent of respondents would like at least part of the land dedicated to recreational buildings. Nearly 40 per cent of respondents would also like a community gathering space.

Overflow parking wasn’t included on the suggestions in the survey, but just over 47 per cent of survey respondents thought this would be a good use of the vacant land.

The results of the survey would from this point go before village officials and council in a committee as a whole setting for further discussion with further engagement exercises planned for early 2021.


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