Courtenay mall still seeking zoning amendment to allow liquor
The owners of the Driftwood Mall have taken another step forward as they try to court a liquor store.
Bentall Kennedy, which owns the Driftwood Mall, has applied to change Courtenay's zoning bylaw to allow a liquor store on the property.
In a parallel process, a phased development agreement bylaw would set out amenities for the city.
Council gave the bylaw to amend zoning on the Driftwood Mall property and the bylaw for the phased development agreement third reading Monday.
Michelle LeSage, general manager of the Best Western Westerly Plus, spoke against the zoning amendment during Monday's public hearing. The owners of the hotel wrote a letter to council opposing the move when the rezoning first came to council July, she noted.
"Now that it has resurfaced, we'd like to reiterate our opposition," said LeSage.
"These are indeed tough times for all businesses in the Comox Valley," she read. "The last thing existing operators need is more supply, which would simply shift market share rather than increase sales. With regards to the Driftwood Mall site, it is not logical for the landlord to suggest that there is a need for another liquor store in the neighbourhood solely because the mall has vacancy, and the owner-agent has prospective tenants."
Tony Segaric of Bentall Kennedy spoke on behalf of the mall owners.
"It makes sense to reinstate what was a previously existing use in a service-oriented shopping centre with food, with drugs, with services," he said. "It makes not only practical sense for the merchants of the shopping centre, but it makes practical sense for the community as far as sustainability and green goes, one-stop shopping.
"We firmly believe this will not provide the threat to the businesses in the community but in fact enhance what we've got and make it far more practical and frankly accepted that there be a liquor store adjacent to a food store in a shopping centre of this size in this community."
Through the phased development agreement, Bentall would install a bus shelter and maintain the shelter for 10 years, allow the city to access and maintain the bus shelter at the end of the 10-year period, contribute $10,000 in amenities, improve the property's landscape buffer and convert the exterior mall lighting to lighting that complies with the city's dark skies policies.
While Coun. Manno Theos was impressed by the comments from LeSage, he noted that the community has experienced significant growth in the last 10 years. "The end result is that the shopping centre is trying to reinvigorate itself, and it is an important shopping centre to our community, as are all the businesses in that area," he said.
Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard voted against third reading.
"The issue of competition is fairly brought up; however, the guiding principle for me is that we look to support the regulations that are trying to support the community good," she said.