Monday’s five-member city council voted to allow a parcel of industrial-zoned land to be rezoned for amusement park use in a four-to-one vote.
Resident Chris Hirn plans to build a family fun park with go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf and 3D simulators on the property located on Industrial Road 2.
While nobody came forward during the public hearing, there were two letters of concern from citizens.
“I do appreciate the comment about using industrial land for this type of use since we have talked about the limitations of that,” Coun. Bob Whetham said. “At the same time, I couldn’t think of another zone or location which could accommodate a use of this type.”
Whetham said from that point of view he supports the application.
“The other (letter) made reference to noise,” he said. “I am familiar with another facility in the upper Columbia Valley which has been there for 18 years or more.”
Whetham said that facility includes a go-kart track and bumper boats, and despite being near a residential area, he said noise was never an issue.
He said, given that the Cranbrook location is separated by a road and the old mill site, it is a reasonable request.
Coun. Gerry Warner spoke to the letters as well from tenants of businesses in the area, which said it was not appropriate for an industrial park.
“When this thing was first brought up, I thought a bit about it myself. I mean this is a tourist-type thing,” Warner said, comparing it to the water slides that used to be at the southern entrance of town.
“They were right in sight of Highway 3 or Van Horne coming through town. Tourists would see it on a hot day and they would stop and use it.”
On the other hand, Warner said, the family fun park would be off in the industrial park, out of sight of tourists driving by.
He worried that council was in too big a hurry to approve the rezoning.
“Don’t misunderstand me, I’d love to see an amusement facility in town, especially for the kids and stuff, I’d love to see new business in town, but it ain’t for us to rush and approve something like this and then it turns out to be not the best kind of facility. I sit here at this table and I represent the public and I wonder if we’re not rushing into this thing without considering every aspect of it.”
Coun. Sharon Cross noted that Moir Park was nearby and is also in an industrial zone.
Cross said the noise levels have also been addressed in letters from Hirn.
Coun. Denise Pallesen, acting mayor, asked about the difficulty of reverting it back into an M-2 Light Industrial Zone if the family fun park doesn’t go through as planned. Staff answered that it would just be a matter of going through the process again to revert it back.
Council adopted the zoning amendment.