Courtenay council impressed with proposed development

A commercial development near the top of Ryan Road hill took a step closer Monday to becoming reality.

A commercial development near the top of Ryan Road hill took a step closer Monday to becoming reality.

Courtenay council saw plans Monday for a gas bar, car wash and service station, restaurant and retail space, which would be located along Lerwick Road between Waters Place and Mission Road.

Council unanimously passed a motion to notify adjacent property owners of the development permit with variances, and the application is expected to return to council July 3.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke in favour of the esthetic appeal of the proposed development, which would include varied massing, articulated roof lines with curved features, and significant landscaping along Lerwick Road.

“We often see when it’s a narrow strip that there’s a lot of asphalt, parking, etcetera, but they appear to have done a lot of work to make a very — much more street appeal with this design,” she said.

The plan includes three buildings housing a four-lane 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. Project architect Eric Ching told council Petro Canada has been interested in the gas bar component of the project since its early stages.

The property is already appropriately zoned, according to City director of development services Peter Crawford. However, the development permit includes variances to the City’s sign bylaw — the addition of a second free-standing sign, and to allow the Petro Canada sign to be above the roofline of the gas bar.

“They’re doing this as a feature for the site and the property but also for the identification,” Crawford said about the second free-standing sign, adding access off Lerwick is not allowed so a second sign would help with site identification. “They preferred more access onto Lerwick Road — they’re not going to be able to achieve that — and the identification of the property is very critical, and therefore we agree with the use of the second sign and recommend approval of that to council.”

Access to the site would be from Waters Place and Mission Road instead of Lerwick Road. The signs would be along Lerwick Road near Waters Place and Mission Road.

Crawford also pointed out the same variance was granted at the Petro Canada on Cliffe Avenue and 17th Street.

The current developers have been in discussion with City staff for nearly 10 months surrounding details of the proposed project, including the access points.

Ching noted the project is ‘green’ and a whole range of measures for sustainability strategies have been incorporated into the plans.

Although Ching admitted the project is vehicle-oriented because of the car wash, service station and gas bar, he added that bike racks are included in the plans and the site would be pedestrian-friendly.

“The owners have taken quite a bit of consideration in looking at a potential mix for this site and that’s why we have potentially a restaurant at the corner (of Lerwick Road and Waters Place), which would serve the proposed hospital,” he said.