Council re-zoned land Tuesday along the South Island Highway to allow an apartment building with a liquor store, despite complaints from neighbours.
Property owner Derik Pallan proposed to build an eight-unit, five-storey apartment complex at 1054 S. Island Hwy, located next door to the Big Rock Motel and across the street from the Big Rock boat launch. Pallan wants to build a liquor store on the ground floor of the apartment building.
On Tuesday night counc had to look at the proposal purely from a land re-zoning perspective when making its decision, as scrutiny of issues such as design, building size, and access to the site will take place once Pallan submits a development permit for the project.
Coun. Claire Moglove supported the proposal because the re-zoning fits with the city’s official community plan.
Moglove added that the issues raised by residents are important and will be raised at the development permit stage.
Coun. Andy Adams said the proposal is what the city is looking for.
“Council has advocated for mixed use for quite some time, it would only be nice if this was for the downtown core, but we’re getting closer,” Adams said.
But neighbours have several issues with the proposal, mostly surrounding traffic.
Norma and Mary Lewis said the project will create congestion in an already busy area.
“Introducing a liquor store at this location would significantly increase traffic issues on an already challenged portion of Highway 19A,” wrote John Lewis, on behalf of Norma and Mary Lewis, in a letter to the city. “The proposal as outlined fits a building too large to provide on-property parking, requiring an arrangement with the Big Rock Motel to provide parking for the eight apartments above the liquor store.
“We understand there are plans to modernize and expand utilization of the adjacent city-owned boat launching facility,” Lewis wrote. “It is reasonable to assume that this would further contribute to traffic congestion and associated issues, including beach parties with handy access to a liquor store.”
Grant Currie, who lives across the street from the proposed development, said he is “strongly opposed” to the project.
“The concept does nothing to enhance the development, services or appeal to the gateway to Campbell River,” Currie said. “There are certainly more than enough liquor stores in the vicinity of my neighbourhood. I can drive for approximately 90 seconds and be at four different liquor stores. As three of these liquor outlets are on the Island Highway the addition of another liquor store only adds competition to an already saturated market.”
Councillors Larry Samson, Ron Kerr and Mayor Walter Jakeway sided with the neighbours. Samson said he doesn’t think it’s a good development because of the size of the lot.
Kerr agreed, “I think the site has got severe limitations. I think it’s too small a property for the intended use. I’m usually pro-development but I just can’t see this succeeding.”
Jakeway is concerned the developer will have to dig into the bank at the back of the lot.
“As soon as you cut in, it changes the way the dirt drains,” he said. “I’m opposed because I don’t want to mislead the developer on how I’ll vote in the development permit stage. I don’t think you can do what’s proposed without cutting into the bank (and) cutting into that bank is not a wise thing.”
Council voted in favour of re-zoning, with Samson, Kerr and Jakeway opposed.