The city is turning a re-zoning application into an opportunity to help spruce up the commercial-dominated landscape in north Campbell River.
Charlie Walcot of Walco Industries appeared before council at its Feb. 18 meeting seeking a change to the zoning on his property after being informed his property did not comply to the city’s bylaw.
“My family owns the place…at the corner of Woodburn and the Island Highway. We’ve been running it as a rental business and a place to store my vacuum trucks, high pressure pumps, stuff like that,” Walcot said. “I found out recently that I guess we’re not in compliance. Even though I thought were zoned properly, we’re not.”
Chris Osborne, city planner, said that the city received a complaint in 2013 and a follow-up inspection “revealed that the site is currently being used for equipment sales/rental/storage, which is not a permitted use” under the current zoning of Walcot’s property.
So Walcot presented an application to council asking for the necessary wording to be added to his zoning in order to bring the property into compliance.
“Whatever you see on the property – storage containers, portable toilets, C-cans, vacuum trucks – nothing will change,” Walcot said. “I just want to get into compliance.”
At the same time, Walcot will be required to add some landscaping to the front of his property, similar to nearby neighbours Coastline Mazda and Inland Kenworth.
Osborne said the area would really benefit from some element of screening and beautification of the road interface.
“This does not need to be elaborate, but it is suggested that linear strips of landscaping along the boundaries should include appropriate vegetation at a range of heights to soften the industrial appearance of the site, and the chain link fence that surrounds it,” Osborne wrote in a report to council. “The purpose would be to integrate the site with the arterial Island Highway and surrounding area. The character of this area is clearly commercial, but increasingly, commercial sites have been taking opportunities to create attractive frontages and architectural buildings that offer improvements and raise the bar in terms of design.”
Coun. Andy Adams asked Walcot if he had any requests for landscaping requirements.
Walcot responded that it was “no big deal. I can do that for you guys.”
He added that he had been planning to add some landscaping to the front of his property anyways and he’s had a longer water line brought in to help with irrigation.
“I wouldn’t see any implementation for a few months of course, but I am open to any suggestions,” Walcot said.
Council approved first and second reading of Walcot’s bylaw amendment application, which triggers a public hearing prior to the start of the next council meeting on March 4.