New partners and an optimistic outlook towards the economy have brought new life to a storage development proposed for Seed Frontage Road.
Redline Garages, a multiple-unit storage development, was first proposed by Gord Bushell and Brad Harris in 2007. Because of the economic downturn, the project was put on hold and the original development permits have since lapsed. But the two now have a modified plan and new partners willing to invest millions into the project. What’s next is to obtain a new development permit. And while some variances are needed, the biggest issue facing the developers, at least from the view of municipal staff, is the form and character of the building and its lack of compliance with Sicamous’ Official Community Plan.
“Staff are okay with variances as requested…,” district administrator Alan Harris explained at last week’s committee of the whole meeting. “The only concern that staff has is in relationship to the form and character of the building… because he’s just looking at a single cement slab building going straight up. It’s just real simple construction. Part of the OCP, it says we do not want to see long, continuous buildings. What they’re proposing is a long, continuous building with a flat roof line so there’s no variance there.”
Subsequently, staff recommended that a development permit not be issued. Councillors decided, however, that the project could proceed to a regular meeting of council for deliberation.
Coun. Don Richardson, prior to making a motion to see the project move ahead, questioned how the building might incorporate a nautical theme. Bushell questioned what constitutes a nautical theme, and pointed out other highway frontage developments not adorned with ropes or anchors.
“I think the OCP is a great thing, but not in economic times like this,” said Bushell. “Developers are actually hamstrung with huge costs trying to accommodate an OCP that’s too broad for this community. It should be in the downtown core, it just can’t be throughout the entire development permit area.
“We don’t want to spend a whole bunch of money making lighthouses or making it look like a boat. It’s a highway commercial development, it is commercial property, it is on the highway, and we are not able to charge $350 a square foot for waterfront condos. We’re building storage.”
Bushell noted the developers have had some problems with the property and were seeking some lenience on the variances, adding they’re not that far off of the district’s expectations.
Coun. Fred Busch, who initially questioned moving the project ahead at the expense of the OCP, had a change of mind when Bushell and Dennis Haan, a director with Eagle Builders LP out of Red Deer, Alta. who is investing in the project, went around to each of the councillors with an illustration of the proposed project, a 33-unit (down from 59), two-building facility with a lane down the centre.
“I think what Gord said, we are very close to what the OCP is asking for and what they are proposing…,” said Busch. “We have a motion on the floor to just completely ignore the OCP. I couldn’t support that. But I could certainly support something where there is some further, I guess, bargaining between council and the planning department and the proponents.”
Coun. Jerry Silva also voiced his approval, adding that the development would provide the added value of blocking off highway noise for neighbours.
“I look at the plan, and there’s a mixture of colour, a mixture of roof lines, there’s some landscaping to break it up, and at first I was not prepared to accept Coun. Richardson’s recommendation, that we move forward with this, but with all these things taken into consideration… I am prepared to move forward with this ,” said Silva. 09:49:11