Right from the start, Seymour Pacific had grand plans for the old Sequoia Springs property up on Petersen Road. They purchased the property early in 2017, and while they’ve done a lot of work to the golf course itself, the real transformation is about to get underway – should council approve a recent rezoning application.
The company has applied to the City of Campbell River to rezone the two properties – 700 and 620 Petersen Road – in the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw document, to enable the development of a “Golf Course Resort Community,” paving the way for its intended construction of an 80-room hotel, a 96-room hotel, a 400-seat conference centre, a spa, as well as numerous restaurants, pubs and a retail component fronting Petersen between Shetland Road and Kathleen Road.
The properties are currently designated “Green and Protected Lands” and “Estate” in the OCP and “Rural Recreation” and “Residential Multiple Two” in the zoning bylaws. The developer would like to see the OCP designation changed to a new designation: “Golf Community and Resort” and the zoning changed to Comprehensive Development Three (CD-3) zone. Both of these designations do not currently exist, but proposed definitions, restrictions, setbacks and technical considerations have been prepared by city staff and have passed first and second reading by city council.
The application has been supported by city staff, as the current OCP designation of “Green and Protected Lands,” doesn’t fit with what is already happening on the property, anyway, according to the report presented to council in December.
The vision for the “Green and Protected Lands” designation is “preserving lands for agricultural use, preserve undeveloped crown lands and privately owned forest lands, contain urban growth within the Urban Containment Boundary and maintain green areas and environmental values,” according to the report.
“An amendment to the OCP is therefore supported given that there are no agricultural uses taking place on the property (nor are the lands located within the Provincial Agricultural Land Reserve), no undeveloped Crown Lands are within the subject lands, and green and environmental areas within the property will continue to be maintained as part of the golf course,” the report reads.
The report also highlights the need for more hotel rooms in the city, again citing the “significant rise in hotel occupancy rates over the past few years, particularly in the summer months.”
The proposal can, however, seem to be in conflict with the city’s downtown revitalization policies, which “specifically discourage the location of retail … uses in areas peripheral to the downtown as a means to encourage the location of downtown as the primary service area,” according to the report.
“While this level of private sector investment could be seen to detract opportunities from the city’s downtown core, these policies must be balanced with the fact that there is a significant shortage in higher-end hotel units in the city (particularly in the summer months). The proposal responds to a growing demand for tourism accommodation in the city of Campbell River and is aligned with economic development objectives in the OCP that encourage diversification of the local economy (s. 10.2) and is therefore supported,” the report reads.
The application will now go to public hearing, which will need to be held before it can be approved or denied by council so the public can chime in with its thoughts.