A rendering shows a “mini urban bazaar” for very small businesses hub proposed in Cumberland. File image, Cumberland staff report

A rendering shows a “mini urban bazaar” for very small businesses hub proposed in Cumberland. File image, Cumberland staff report

Urban bazaar proposal in Cumberland takes next step

Council approved permit applications but have some concerns about parking

A proposed microbusiness hub in downtown Cumberland has taken another step forward.

At the June 14 council meeting, council approved a heritage alteration permit application in the downtown core and variance requests for the site at 3274 Third St. The variances are to reduce the minimum ground-to-floor ceiling height from 4.2m to 2.4m and to increase the front yard setback from one metre to 8.75m. The location is on an L-shaped piece of property near the Trugreen Cannabis store.

The project is to function as a business incubator for the community, with a few small spaces inside for artisan-type businesses. The site will include green space, bike parking and a small, public community space.

“The purpose is for a community urban bazaar,” planner Karin Albert told council. “It’s a good fit with the official community plan.”

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She added that staff recommended all three requests, as members of council also liked what the plan could bring to downtown.

“I think this is really exciting. I think this is a wonderful, or will be a wonderful improvement to the downtown,” Coun. Jesse Ketler.

While council members liked the emphasis on bike use, Ketler and Coun. Vickey Brown did have questions about a need for vehicle parking in the downtown area, especially with multiple vendors on site, and whether the site should have a loading zone.

Albert said they could not accommodate a loading space, so the developer is paying the cash-in-lieu option. She explained the idea had been discussed but to add another parking space would take away from the green space proposed. At the same time, the developer is providing more bike parking than required.

“His vision was really to make it bicycle-accessible and draw people who want to ride their bikes,” she said.

The staff report also included public comments, which generally supported the proposal, describing it as “innovative” and a “great use of land.”

“Reading the letters from the neighbourhood, they were all quite happy with it,” Coun. Gwyn Sproule said.

While council approved the requests, they provided direction to staff to speak to the applicant about rearranging the parking setup about the possibility of a loading area.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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