City council has given first and second reading to a rezoning application that could pave the way for a new hotel to be built on the South Island Highway near Hidden Harbour.
The two-acre property at 220 Island Highway South is currently zoned RM-3, which is the designation for medium to high-rise residences – typically three to six-storey apartment complexes – but the applicant would like to see that changed to C-6 so they can build a hotel.
The C-6 designation is for “highway-related tourist accomodation and related ancillary uses and facilities,” based on the city’s zoning bylaws. Because the lot is located south of the Evergreen Road right of way, the maximum height of the building cannot exceed three metres below the “top of ridge” at the west side of the property, as determined by city staff in collaboration with BC Land Surveyors.
City staff was recommending the rezoning process proceed citing “a general need for higher-end hotels in the city,” saying Campbell River has been experiencing a “signigicant rise in hotel occupancy over the past few years, particularly in the summer months”
According to statistics provided in the report, Campbell River had the highest hotel occupancy rate anywhere in the province – 97 per cent – in August 2017, and this rezoning proposal “responds to a growing demand for tourism accomodation in the city.”
The development of the hotel would also trigger improvements to Pinecrest Road, which currently terminates above the ridge behind the northwest corner of the property, according to the staff report. Those improvements will result in a new pedestrian access route from the end of Pinecrest Road down to the highway.
“While steep grades within the road dedication render the construction of a road for vehicular access infeasible,” the report says, “the applicant will be required to construct a pedestrian connection that will likely feature stairs … (to) provide connectivity between the existing neighbourhood (above the top of ridge) and the Seawalk along the Island Highway.”
Because the property is a “hooked” lot that includes a portion of land across the highway on the waterfront, improvements by the developer would normally be required on that side of the road, as well, but the staff report says the city may be interested in acquiring the portion of the property across the highway to relive the developer of this requirement and allow the city itself to perform walkway enhancements, sea level rise mitigation and the installation of on-street parking.
Council agreed that the rezoning should proceed to public hearing to receive feedback on the proposal.