Vote delayed due to absences

Building proponents were unwilling to ‘gamble’ with two Campbell River councillors missing

The architect of the proposed apartment building with a liquor store below took the unusual step of asking council to delay voting on the fate of the development.

Curtis Miles was ready to go at Tuesday’s council meeting with his presentation for a major development permit only to find, much to his dismay, that two councillors – Andy Adams and Claire Moglove – were not in attendance at the meeting.

“We spent a considerable amount of time, energy and talent if I may say, to get this presentation to this point and unbeknown to myself and my client, we’re short, let’s say, numbers in the vote,” Miles said. “We’re a little afraid to ask for a vote in case it does go in the wrong direction and we wouldn’t be able to come back for at least six months. I’m not a gambling person. I want to make sure this project keeps on going.”

With Adams and Moglove out of the equation, that left Mayor Walter Jakeway and councillors Ron Kerr, Ryan Mennie, Larry Samson and Mary Storry available to vote on the development permit.

A vote on the re-zoning application for the project passed during a council meeting in May,  but Samson, Kerr and Jakeway were all opposed. Adams and Moglove voted in favour, and Adams even praised the development.

“Council has advocated for mixed used for quite some time, it would only be nice if this was for the downtown core, but we’re getting closer,” Adams said at the May 7 council meeting.

Samson and Kerr were concerned the lot was too small for the development that’s proposed, and Jakeway is worried that once the slope behind the lot is dug into, it will become unstable and slide down onto the building.

Had the vote for the development permit gone the same way as it did for the re-zoning, the permit would have been denied.

And it appeared Miles didn’t want to take that chance.

“We’re prepared to make the presentation…yet I feel uncomfortable making the presentation when there’s two members of council missing tonight,” Miles said.

“I think given the situation and the uncertainty and the danger that a vote could do to this project – we’re ready to go, we want to start construction, we need to get started – I’d be really afraid to face my client if this vote didn’t go properly tonight.

“With respect, I think I’m going to hold back the birth of the baby for another three weeks.”

The “baby” is a five-storey apartment at 1054 S. Island Highway.

The application has been questioned because the lot is limited in terms of how much can be developed due to the slope in the back of the lot and residents of the complex would have to park in a space designated for them on the Big Rock Motel lot, which is also owned by the applicant.

The developer, Derik Pallan, wants to use the building as a retaining structure at the toe of the slope and have access to the apartments at the side and back of the building.

The liquor store would face Highway 19A and have parking in the front. It’s proposed that the new building would not have its own access, instead motorists would enter from the entrance to the Big Rock Motel.