Updated: Oct. 23
In a split vote on Oct. 13, the contentious Revelstoke Crossing retail development has passed another hurdle with the city council supporting the third reading of the text amendment in a split 4-2 vote.
Revelstoke Crossing is the proposed 11-unit shopping centre in the large vacant space next to the Trans-Canada Highway on Bend Road, near the intersection to Highway 23 north. The zoning area of CD-09 allows a number of retail uses but the developer requested a bylaw amendment to add grocery, pharmacy, health and welfare service professionals (dentists and doctors) and public assembly and entertainment.
By allowing these additions, the development will potentially progress and this has raised concerns in the community about whether it will have a negative impact on Revelstoke business and our tourist calling card — our vibrant downtown.
Discussion on this agenda item lasted almost an hour with each councillor making a statement.
Gary Sulz said he has suffered from sleep deprivation over the last few weeks considering all the input from community but supported the amendment and asked that the developers work with council to get the development right.
“Reality is that we [moved] from small town B.C. into a premier destination resort community with various year-round outdoor activities,” Sulz said. “Business is alive and well and growth will be inevitable for those willing to embrace it. We as council have an obligation to the entire community to encourage growth in a fashion that meets our needs as we continue to evolve.”
Linda Nixon was also in favour of the development and stated that it will attract tourism and be convenient for the neighbourhood of Columbia Park.
“The protectionism that went on was the right thing to do when we were a town on the side of the highway, but now we’re a destination,” Nixon said.
“From our OCP (official community plan), it’s (the development) an opportunity to connect more with the travelling public, to offer a gateway to the Revelstoke experience. To stimulate interest and curiosity about what is Revelstoke all about.”
Aaron Orlando cited a list of concerns but in the end couldn’t support the motion because of the addition of a pharmacy, which would duplicate competition in town.
“We have two pharmacies downtown and also the health centre where we have numerous health opportunities downtown,” he said. “We are going to be further splitting up those types of resources.”
Connie Brothers wanted more time to allow in-depth discussion in the community regarding the concerns of the development and possible solutions before going ahead.
“Let’s make sure we do our homework and do what’s best of the community,” she said.
The final vote was 4-2. Mayor Mark McKee and councillors Gary Sulz, Trevor English and Linda Nixon in support, while councillors Connie Brothers and Aaron Orlando were opposed. Scott Duke stepped out of the meeting due to a conflict of interest.
Following this item, Mayor McKee introduced a motion that city staff be instructed to add a connecting path for cyclists and pedestrians to the official community plan review and be secured for future development.
The text amendment will need to be approved pursuant to the transportation act and adopted by city council before it is official. Then the next step for Vancouver-based developer Hall Pacific will be to apply for a development permit, which will be a whole other lengthy process before possible construction gets underway.