Camp Grafton is a day away from possibly being rezoned and subdivided.
The rezoning is set to go to the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District board for a vote Thursday, said Jennifer Keim, co-chair of the Kamloops United Church redevelopment project.
The church has proposed to carve off two parcels from the 18-hectare camp on the North Shuswap. The plan is to sell those lots — one one-hectare parcel, the other two hectares — to bring in some money to pay for the church's new building and residential development on 400-block St. Paul Street in Kamloops.
"We haven't put anything up for sale. We hope to get the rezoning done first. Then we have to do the technical aspects of the rezone," Heim said Tuesday.
Both of the new lots would have access to the beach, as does the remaining camp property. Each lot owner would have to drill for water.
"We're seeking single family housing on each lot," said Heim.
A public hearing was held on Aug. 21. Out of 29 people who attended, three spoke in favour of the rezoning, eight spoke against. Letters were also submitted, with four in favour and 10 opposed.
Larry Morgan, CSRD director for the area, said he's heard a lot of opposition mainly due to the history of the camp property.
It was originally donated to the Scouts by a Dr. Grafton, and it was presumed it would always remain as such.
Many of those opposed to the subdivision and rezoning are concerned about the loss to the camp, he said.
"I've had a fair amount of response. Perhaps more against than for at this point," he said. "The advisory planning commission meeting, which I attended, they did vote against it. Primarily because of the historical aspect of the property. They felt Dr. Grafton had made a commitment as a church camp. But there's nothing on title to that effect."
The planning commission's recommendations are not binding, and there have been past issues where the CSRD board has gone against planning commission viewpoints.
"It's going to be a difficult decision. It's quite controversial and there are positions on either side of the fence on this," Morgan said.
"The staff recommendation as per the board report is to approve the rezoning."
Jennifer Sham, CSRD development services assistant, said Grafton has deep ties for area residents.
But on the other side, supporters see the development the church is doing in Kamloops as a positive project that needs the financial help.
The public hearing was held on Aug. 21. Board directors have not been allowed to take new information on the issue since then. Their vote Thursday will give third reading and adoption.
Heim said the new development includes 56 residential units, 41 of which are eligible for a homeowner assistance plan the church is offering.
"Our congregation members have already donated close to $1 million already. They've put their bucks on the table. And we have our financing package for the construction. This was just another piece of equity we had to bring to the table," she said.
Ed Goyan, who lives right next to Grafton, said more people at the public hearing were opposed than in favour. He agreed that their reasons were mostly because of the history of the camp.
"It's the history of the camp and what it's meant to generations of kids."