The new owners of the Cumberland Hotel see a new future for the site of the old building.
They have applied for a development variance permit and a heritage alteration permit for the property at 2714 Dunsmuir Ave., a request that came before council at the Aug. 9 meeting.
Heritage conservation guidelines stipulate the area is to have a heritage character to serve as inspiration for new development. Some members of the public are questioning whether the new development will do that.
The plan is to demolish the current Cumberland Hotel and erect a new four-storey building with three commercial spaces and 15 residential units above. These would be one- and two-bedroom units. The structure would also include an elevator. One concern has been what appears to be a fifth floor, but staff explained it is simply an elevator shaft and electrical room.
“We will make sure that the size is permitted,” senior planner Karin Albert told council.
There was some question about the number of parking spaces needed, with perhaps 30 required — half residential and half commercial.
Albert told council the number of commercial spots could depend on the use, though she said there were options for the number of spaces. The proposal for “The Eddie,” submitted by Edmonton-based PostMark Development, shows potential uses such as a bike shop, restaurant or health clinic. To maximize space, she cited an adjustable Klaus multi-parking system.
“It’s actually quite an innovative way to provide parking,” she said.
One question was whether affordable housing could be included, but Albert said the only means would be through a density bonus.
The Eddie proposal was the subject of an information meeting on Aug. 4, which attracted an estimated 30 to 40 people. Council received comments covering concerns such as the height of the building, the exterior of the building and the consolidation of lots into a single lot. The comments following the information meeting also touched on parking, the loss of an entertainment venue and the materials to be used.
One letter-writer did commend the proponents for trying to incorporate some of the design elements from the current building but still had questions about parking. Another was disappointed there would be no “green” elements. The issue has also generated discussion online, with some complaining about how the plan looks, the name or the lack of bylaws to protect heritage values.
Council passed a motion to send the matter to the heritage committee for comment. In response to requests from council members Vickey Brown and Jesse Ketler, the village is also sending it to the accessibility committee and advisory planning commission.