Business made to make a clean start

Sicamous council is making trash cans a required part of planned renovation at a local service station.

The Sicamous Husky will be undergoing a facelift as it is converted to an Esso.

As part of the process, a development permit application was submitted to the district to convert all existing signage on the site.

A district staff memo notes the application is limited to signage alone, as there are no new buildings, changes to access or parking involved. But council chose to make the addition of garbage cans a condition of the permit. This was after Coun. Gord Bushell raised concerns regarding the recent state of the property.

“I know they cleaned it up a couple of weeks ago, but again, it’s looking just as bad as it was two weeks ago,” said Bushell during the April 12 council meeting. “The place is an eyesore, there’s light standards laying down in the parking lot, old signs laying down in the parking lot, garbage all over the place. It’s not like their other good neighbours who actually go out and clean their property and make sure everything looks good. These people never clean their property unless they’re told… Is there something we can put in this bylaw, this development permit, that we can make them clean their garbage up?”

In response, planning assistant Melinda Smyrl said the addition of garbage cans could be made a condition of the permit, but not a condition forcing the owners to clean the property.

“Adding to that, since the previous council meeting, staff have been working closely with the Ministry of Transportation and the owners, and we’re looking at some solutions that could remedy this in the long-term,” said Smyrl.

Another approach, said Smyrl, is to address ongoing issues when the station’s business licence comes up for renewal.

“When they renew their business licence every year, that’s an opportunity for the district to consult with the property owners on the state of the property,” she said.

In an interview following the council meeting, Mayor Terry Rysz said the issue of garbage being dumped on the service station property has been going on for a few years. He views the transition from Husky to Esso as an opportunity to address the matter.

“That’s very positive, because what I think it’s going to do is facelift that whole complex and make it be more aesthetically pleasing,” said Rysz. “But we’ve always had a bit of an issue there as far as dumping, so we want to make sure there’s garbage cans onsite and so-forth, so we can encourage the clientele visiting that particular space to have a little bit more respect when it comes to our community.”

The staff memo to council makes note of the Esso station west of the Husky. It states staff have been in discussion with that property owner and have been told “a development application is pending for that site,” and that it will likely be converted from an Esso to another gas station.