Business

Fitness centre gets the okay in Campbellton

A fitness centre in Campbellton is allowed to continue operating out of an industrial building after council made an exception to its zoning bylaw Monday night.

The Yard Fitness and Exercise Centre has been operating out of a building on Willow Street that also houses a bottle depot, a restoration company and other businesses.

While recently applying for a business licence, it was discovered that a fitness centre is not a permitted use under the zoning designated to the property.

Cameron Salisbury, city planner, said the Willow Street building is on land zoned Industrial One (I-1) and the owner has applied to the city for a temporary use permit to allow the fitness centre to continue operating.

“The applicant is seeking to allow the fitness use to be permitted in the Industrial One zone for a period of three years,” Salisbury said.

At Monday’s council meeting, council granted the temporary use permit.

Coun. Colleen Evans, however, was concerned about a city staff report from Salisbury that noted that neighbours living adjacent to the building have voiced concerns about loud noises coming from the fitness centre in the early morning hours as some activities have taken place outdoors or with bay windows open.

“Would it be typical for a temporary use permit to be evaluated after a one year term?” Evans asked. “My concern is if we approve it and there are issues, what opportunity do we have to address that?”

Kevin Brooks, the city’s land use development manager, said there are conditions attached to the permit.

“If those conditions are breached, council has the authority to revoke that permit,” Brooks said.

Salisbury said city staff added a provision to the permit that use of the fitness centre is limited to the inside of the building and that all doors and windows are closed between 6 and 8 a.m.

Having said that, Salisbury said city staff recommended the temporary use permit because the fitness centre is generally consistent with the city’s official community plan and it’s likely to have “much less impact on the surrounding neighbourhood then some of the uses which are currently permitted in the I-1 zone.”

The temporary use permit, however, will ensure that the city’s industrial zones, which are limited, will not be taken up by other uses.

“Staff is concerned that allowing commercial uses in industrial zones will erode the long-term supply of industrial land in the city,” Salisbury said. “There is limited I-1 zoned land and a large supply of Commercial Four (C-4) zoned land in Campbell River. There are currently vacant C-4 properties in the area surrounding the subject site that allow for the fitness centre use.

Staff believe that using the temporary use permit process would ensure that the industrial land is not permanently converted to commercial uses and could be used for industrial activities in the future.”

In the end, the temporary use permit was approved for three years, with an option for council to extend the permit for another three years after that.

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