New fitness centre goes industrial – zoning-wise, at the very least

A fitness centre can temporarily take up residence inside an industrial building after council made an exception to its zoning bylaw Monday night.

The owner of the building at 1661 15th Ave. discovered while applying for a business licence that the gym, to be operated on the ground floor of the two-storey building, was not a permitted use for that site.

Rather than abandon all plans for the fitness centre, the owner instead applied to the city for a temporary use permit.

“Council has the power under…the Local Government Act to permit a land use in a zone where the land use would not otherwise be permitted,” said Matthew Fitzgerald, city planner, in a report to council. “The legislation defers parameters for such approval to the community’s Official Community Plan.”

The exception is allowed for up to three years and may be extended for three more years with the approval of council. The fitness centre proposed for the site – KB Strength & Wellness – is expected to focus on personal training, small group classes and nutritional consulting. Krista Boulding, in a letter of intent to the city, said her gym will help increase the amount of people coming into Campbellton.

“I believe having a wellness facility in the area will bring positive change to the community,” Boulding wrote. “Located across the street from the building in question there is a spa facility and a therapeutic centre offering massage, physio, and chiropractic. Adding a fitness facility to the neighbourhood will benefit my business as well as others through cross referrals and increased traffic. This will bring more awareness to all that Campbellton has to offer.”

Boulding added that the gym is in an ideal spot with respect to parking as there are ample spots available.

Fitzgerald, in recommending council approve the permit, said the city has more than enough land zoned and designated for industrial uses, without retaining the 15th Avenue site.

“The city has a greater than 50 year supply of land zoned and designated for industrial uses,” Fitzgerald said. “This greatly exceeds a typical industrial land reserve – usually between 20-25 years of supply is the target for planning purposes. With this in mind, there may be justification for allowing additional land uses into these areas to absorb vacant space and add services for those employed and living in the area.”

On the other hand, Fitzgerald said because the rezoning is temporary, that does ensure the industrial land is not permanently converted and therefore, it could one day again be used for industrial purposes when demand returns.

In the end, council agreed with city staff’s recommendation and approved the a three-year temporary use permit.