The city has issued a development permit to BC Transit for the construction of their new operations and maintenance facility on Evergreen Road, which two members of council think isn’t a great design, nor are they happy with the landscaping being proposed for the property.

Campbell River city council issues permit to BC Transit for new Evergreen facility

Two councilors remain unimpressed with the design of the facility and proposed landscaping

The City of Campbell River has issued BC Transit its major development permit for the new maintenance and operations centre on Evergreen Road, but when the plans came before council, a few councilors were less than impressed.

The new facility was announced last August and the nearly-five-acre site was selected based on its central location within the community, as well as the adequate lot size.

When he saw the proposed development, however, Coun. Larry Samson questioned the seeming lack of distance between Elk River Road (better known as the ERT) and the maintenance yard in the proposal, wishing there was more of a green space barrier there between work being done on the buses and the public’s enjoyment of the ERT, which the city has long said is to become an important bike and walking route through the city.

“I realize that we have little say in this,” Samson said citing the fact that under the Interpretations Act, Crown corporations like BC Transit are not actually required to comply with local government works and services requirements, “but I think the landscaping could more enhance the neighbourhood … and I don’t think the design fits the neighbourhood that’s surrounding it.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield’s main concern was possible downstream environmental impact of the development.

“I’ve noticed that one of the ditches up there has hay bales in it to prevent sedimentation, because I believe that ditch drains into Nunns Creek,” Cornfield said. “What are we doing on a more permanent basis to ensure water quality?”

Acting development services supervisor Andy Gaylor said measures were prescribed during the provincial permitting process to address that issue, which includes “an oil and grit separator facility to make sure there’s no materials entering watercourses.”

That was enough to quell Cornfield’s concerns.

“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Cornfield said. “This is a significant investment by BC Transit into Campbell River and I think that’s important to remember. We’re fortunate to be getting this type of development.”

But Coun. Ron Kerr, like Samson, said he also couldn’t vote in favour of the development permit.

“I’m definitely not impressed,” Kerr said. “I think this looks like a large industrial building not suited for a residential location … and it’s not even similar to the (BC) Hydro property beside it, which was set back further, was better landscaped and seemed to fit more into that neighbourhood, for all the years I’ve lived here. A building on a highly visible corner like that, there should be far more attention given to the visual aspects of the property.

“I think they can do a lot better with this and our community deserves a lot better than this.”

In the end, council voted in favour of the permit being issued, with Kerr and Samson opposed.

BC Transit has said they expect the facility to be operational by March, 2020.