Another development proposed atop Ryan Road hill in Courtenay

The top of Ryan Road hill could soon have another new business pop up, but this one wouldn't be a box store.

THIS ARTIST RENDERING is what the empty lot on Lerwick Road next to Home Depot could look like this summer. The locals behind the proposal

The top of Ryan Road hill could soon have another new business pop up, but this one wouldn’t be a box store.Muriel and Steve McKay, owners of Mariana Phoenix Group, bought a chunk of property on Lerwick Road, between Mission Road and Waters Place, next to Home Depot.They sent their development proposal to Courtenay City staff, which includes three buildings housing a four-lane PetroCan gas bar and convenience store in one; a seven-bay car wash with oil change centre in the second; and a restaurant and two retail store spaces in the third.City staff are expected to send the development proposal back to council for readings sometime in the early New Year, and Muriel McKay said she’s eager to get the project moving.”As soon as we get the go ahead from the City for the development permit we will be applying for our building permit so we can start construction as soon as possible,” said McKay. “We’re hopeful that that’ll happen early in the New Year because we do want to be open by summer.”Although the project is not small in size McKay calls it a “mom and pop” operation. The restaurant and retail spaces would be leased out, but she and her husband would run the gas bar and convenience store, and the car wash and oil change station.McKay said she’s optimistic that the proposal will go ahead because the land is already zoned for this use, and she sees “a lack of these kind of services” the immediate area. As for being around the corner from Costco’s gas pumps, McKay said the gas wars won’t last forever.”With gas wars, they’re usually not long-term, they’re usually short term scenarios,” said McKay.The artist rendering depicts a very modern looking development, and McKay said the car wash in particular will be modern in it’s operations.”There’s some exciting technology out there that we can use to make the car wash operation really green,” said McKay, explaining that a water recovery and collection system would be implemented, which would recycle much of the water the car wash would use.”That could probably save us 80, 90 per cent of our water consumption,” she said. And, “not just the water, but also the taxing of the sewer system, so this is a great savings all the way around.”The McKays are no strangers to this kind of business. They moved to Union Bay about two and a half years ago to be closer to their kids and grandkids, but owned a number of similar businesses in Alberta over 15 years.Muriel McKay said she and her husband are thinking long-term with their new business venture. “We’re looking at a long-term investment in the community,” said McKay. “We’re not here for just a few years, you know we’ve moved here to make this our home and this is a long term project for us.”

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