Mall parking lot may be used for vehicle storage

The owner of the Campbell River Common wants council’s approval to park boats, cars and RV’s in the shopping mall’s back parking lot.

The owner of the Campbell River Common wants council’s approval to park boats, cars and RV’s in the shopping mall’s back parking lot.

Currently storage units are only allowed inside the mall but if a zoning permit is approved, the rear parking lot will serve as storage for motor vehicles.

A fence has already been put up to cordon off the area for storage.

“The indoor storage business recently opened and the physical alterations to the building were co-ordinated with city building inspection staff,” said Ian Buck, city planner, in a report to council.

“The rear parking lot is currently fenced off to separate the proposed outdoor storage area from the rest of the parking lot,” Buck said.

Allan Edie, owner of Campbell River Common, said having the outdoor storage will ultimately benefit the community.

“We want to get the boats and RV’s off the driveways in Campbell River and into a safe location,” Edie said. “We want to have outdoor storage on the existing asphalt parking lot behind the Campbell River Common shopping mall.”

Edie said merchants inside the mall have all been supportive of the proposed facility.

“We hosted an on-site meeting (to discuss the re-zoning) and there were very few complaints other than from our three competitors in the storage business.”

Bob Kristmanson, of Daigle Welding and Marine, is upset Indoor Storage Solutions wants special consideration to amend the zoning bylaw to allow outside storage.

“Given the fact we are not near full capacity at our outdoor storage facility, allowing ‘special zoning privileges’ to amend the current zoning for Indoor Storage Solutions would be detrimental to our business,” Kristmanson said.

Walter Jakeway of Campbell River Storage said a shopping mall is not the place for an outdoor storage facility.

“I can see no reason to grant an amendment for the inner city mall location,” Jakeway said.  “If that business owner wanted an outside storage yard he chose the wrong zoning location. Could that be why my business is located far away from the downtown core? Outside storage was intentionally designated for industrial zoned property only.”

He added a large assortment of vehicles lined up along Nunns Creek would be unsightly and could even pose a risk to the fish that swim in Nunns Creek.

“It is disappointing to see Campbell River Common being quickly converted into a storage warehouse,” Jakeway said.

Ted Arbour of Econo Ezy Box Storage agrees that a mall is not an appropriate place for outdoor storage.

“I can assure you a six-foot high fence does not obscure the site from the public eye,” Arbour said.

“If it is the city’s intention to make 16th Avenue into more of an entrance into the downtown core, these ‘special zoning privileges’ could potentially become an unwelcome eyesore.”

The issue is now scheduled for a public hearing, likely to be heard prior to the next regular council meeting on Oct. 18.