Kimberley Council had quite an intense discussion on land use after hearing a proposal for a new development in Marysville.
Planning staff had advised Council to decline first reading on an OCP amendment to change zoning for a new family restaurant on the sight of the mini-storage business in Marysville, as it did not fit with the industrial zoning in that area. A staff report also noted that Kimberley lacked industrial land and this would just take more away.
The proponent spoke to Council, and without naming specifically what the restaurant would be, said it would have a drive through and would be a $4.5 million investment. That doesn’t include the service station. The restaurant, he said, would employ about 60 people, the gas station perhaps 15 more. He also said the restaurant franchises are known for being a big community supporters in terms of youth sports and more. He asked for Council’s support for the rezoning, saying that the entrance to town deserved better.
Coun. Jason McBain thanked planning staff for the very comprehensive report, but said that as much as he appreciates the problem with the lack of industrial land, this proposal was a big opportunity. He also noted that the plans for the service station included opportunities to charge vehicles, something other service stations in town did not offer.
Coun. Sandra Roberts didn’t pull any punches. She said after reading the staff report she felt as if she had woken up in an alternate universe.
“It seemed like a lecture on how not to move forward,” she said. “This gentleman is offering to us an opportunity to employ up to 75 people.”
She pointed out that council had been discussing light industrial lands for quite a while and sees it as a priority.
“I have lived in Kimberley since 1950, and that industrial park has not changed since I was a child.
“We need some serious deep thinking about the rules as we have them. They are not working.”
She said trying to develop the bench lands above Marysville has been going on for years and it keeps getting dropped.
“Here we have developable land and are being told not to do it.”
Coun. Steve Royer pointed out that if the opportunity wasn’t seized, it would go to Cranbrook.
“We’ll have lost out,” he said. “It’s time to step it up and go forward.”
Coun. Woodie MacQuire cautioned that it could have an effect on small business already in town, and also agreed that the lack of industrial land was an issue. For that reason, he said, he was inclined to agree with the staff report. He did however vote to move the process forward.
Coun. Kevin Dunnebacke said that as a small business man, parent and citizen, he was for the development. He noted that the entrance into Marysville was not “super rad”, and that a restaurant and nice service station would be a great place to stop after a long trip with the family.
“As long as it’s clean and tidy and has some greenspace,” he said.
Mayor Don McCormick was the last to speak to the proposal. He said he has been talking about diversification of the tax base for years and there was finally starting to be some movement. With the population of Kimberley steadily growing, it justifies investment in the community. Available land was a huge issue, he said. He pointed out that having a Lordco in the Platzl was odd, but there was nowhere else for it to go.
“The bench lands need remediation but there are 18 developable acres up there. The Marysville industrial park has been neglected. There’s no sewer and broken roads.” He said commercially developing a lot on the highway was not going to jeopardize light industrial lands overall.
“This is six to eight million in permit values,” he said. “And the jobs are significant, especially part time for youth.”
He also said it was a place where young families could dine out for less than $100.
“We would be doing tax payers and residents a disservice by not giving first reading. It opens it up to the public hearing. To stop before makes no sense.”