“It was an extremely difficult decision to make.”
Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz made the comment after district council approved a development permit for 530 Main St. at its Nov. 10 meeting, giving the green light for a gas bar, electric vehicle charging stations, parking, waste storage enclosure, landscaping, and boulevard improvements.
It’s phase one of a plan from Hemkund Developments, which wants to later develop the building at 534 Main Street to accommodate fast food establishments. Hemkund also proposes a possible hotel for 530 Main St. in the future, although neither of those plans are approved yet.
The development permit application returned to council Nov. 10 after being sent back to the district’s planning and development committee at council’s Oct. 27 meeting. It first went to the planning committee in July 2021 and has been discussed extensively since.
A main point of discussion was access to the property, which will be via the roundabout at the Sicamous entrance that connects Highway 1, Highway 97A, Main Street, and Eagle Pass Way.
Three councillors voted for the permit to be approved – Couns. Jeff Mallmes, Bob Evans, and Malcolm Makayev. Three councillors voted against: Couns. Gord Bushell, Ryan Airey, and Colleen Anderson. Mayor Rysz voted yes, saying he had to agree with district staff’s recommendation to approve the permit.
District development services manager Scott Beeching said the development meets the Sicamous Official Community Plan guidelines and the traffic study was satisfactory. Conditions of the permit include the developer being responsible for landscaping costs and offsite works.
Coun. Anderson said she doesn’t understand how roundabout traffic won’t get stopped if transport trucks are turning into 530 Main St. She also doesn’t like that when they exit the property, they’ll have to drive down Main St., and said having semis passing by the high school is a safety issue.
Coun. Bushell said it would be smarter to wait until 530 and 534 Main St. can be consolidated, and the properties need a wider and larger exit. He also said the traffic study was not sufficient.