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Council hints at early support for development

A development company has a plan it says will change the look of an entrance to Parksville by replacing a “boarded-up hotel in disrepair” with a 29-unit condo/retail complex.

Garwin Wuerch of Radcliffe Development Corporation gave city council its first look Monday night at a proposal for the corner of Highway 19A and Lombardy Street, which is currently home to a restaurant and a closed motel.

The property is currently zoned for tourist commercial and Wuerch said the proposal is “uniquely appropriate for the subject site.” The site would need a zoning bylaw amendment for it to proceed, along with other approvals and public hearings. On Monday, council unanimously passed a motion to get the ball rolling by sending the proposal to the advisory planning commission and asking the proponent to hold an open house.

Wuerch’s presentation highlighted how he believed the proposal fit with the city’s Official Community Plan. He also said the company would do $176,000 worth of sidewalk and curb improvements and development cost charges would pump $662,000 into city coffers. He said annual taxes paid to the city would rise to $125,000 from $14,800 if the project was successful.

“I’m really excited that this has come forward,” said Coun. Sue Powell. “My only concern is the in and out (access to Highway 19A) because the rest of it looks amazing.”

Coun. Bill Neufeld also expressed concern about the access — the proponent wants the underground parking access to have both right and left-turn options onto the highway — and bus/bike lane issues, but he also said “I can support the project — it looks really good.”

While Mayor Chris Burger suggested councillors needed to keep an open mind about the project so early in the process, Coun. Marc Lefebvre twice said he had a difficult time keeping an open mind, offering his support for the proposal because “I’m looking at what it replaces.”

When questioned by council, Wuerch did say the living units would be roughly 1,600 square feet each, but he was hesitant at this point to provide many more details.

“I can’t give away all my trade secrets,” said Wuerch.

No dates have been set for the open house or the proposal’s arrival at the APC.

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