The mystery surrounding the empty lot and piles of dirt on the corner of South Dogwood and Hilchey is no more.
A shopping centre, dubbed Timberline Village, is in the works for the empty lot and the proposal was before council Tuesday night.
TD Canada Trust Bank and Shoppers Drug Mart are expected to be the major players in the complex and have already signed on to be tenants, according to the development agent.
“I think it’s an excellent design,” Coun. Ron Kerr said. “To copy a few quotes in the (staff) report, ‘overall the detailed design is of high-quality and reflects the local character of Campbell River…(and) would bring significant value and benefit to the local neighbourhood.’ I think this is really raising the bar in the neighbourhood.”
Barry Weih, agent for the development, told council the development would be a “high-quality” shopping complex, with three separate buildings all with timber framing and stone elements.
The complex is aimed at new developments in the College Drive and Hilchey Road area.
The site was re-zoned in 2006 from residential to a Commercial Two, in order to accommodate business over residential homes.
“The intent was to provide for a new neighbourhood retail centre, in light of the additional residential development occurring in the vicinity,” said Chris Osborne, city planner, in a report to council. “The applicant now wishes to implement this design.”
Designs call for a variety of colours with timber-coloured finishes, glazing, stonework, and bright signage.
A brand-new Shoppers Drug Mart and TD Canada Trust Bank, complete with a drive-thru, are designed to each occupy its own building while a third building will hold a variety of smaller businesses.
Weih said there are plans to incorporate “dental, medical, hopefully a coffee shop and some other uses yet to be determined.” He stressed there would be no fast food services.
Access to the complex would be off of Hilchey and off of Dogwood, with 129 parking stalls in the centre of the facility. Bike parking will be available in front of each building.
Coun. Ryan Mennie said he was concerned there would be a loss of parking for Beaver Lodge Land users who traditionally park their vehicles along Hilchey and cross Dogwood to enter the trails.
Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, said there is enough capacity for vehicles to still park along Hilchey and he anticipates people will use the shopping centre parking lot. He said the city could also look at re-opening a parking area further south on Dogwood that has been gated off due to security concerns.
Brennan Clarke, spokesperson for the Beaver Lodge Lands Trust, said the shopping centre does not pose any kind of a threat to the Beaver Lodge Lands themselves.
“The proposed mall is not expected to have any impact on this piece of provincially managed forest,” said Clarke, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “The area serves as a living classroom for elementary, high school and college students. These activities will carry on as planned whether the mall is built or not.”
Council approved the major development permit for the shopping centre, which is expected to get underway soon to accommodate strict deadlines for TD and Shoppers which both already have tenants lined up.