Parksville city council gave the preliminary nod to the construction of a larger, standalone Save-on-Foods beside the existing Wembley Mall store.
“This is very exciting to see,” said mayor Chris Burger during the brief discussion at their Feb. 6 committee of the whole meeting.
Coun. Bill Neufeld agreed.
“It’s a great plan and I want to see it going forward, but I have questions,” he said, referring to site plans that showed an extension of Stanhope Road across the northwest end of the property, considerable changes in parking and traffic patterns around the mall and several changes in the access roads.
Director of community planning Blaine Russell said the current application is only a development application, dealing with the form and character of the building. Other issues around parking and road access would be separate applications.
The proposal calls for a 4,831 sq.m (52,000 sq.ft.) building in the area of the former Ken-Dor Garden Centre and will go to a public process but will not require any rezoning. The 9.4 ha. property is already zoned CD-12, or comprehensive development which permits shopping malls and more than one building.
The application, from ICR Projects on behalf of mall managers Parksville Properties, is intended as the first step of a revitalization of the entire mall which has lost a number of tenants.
The existing store is 3,251 sq.m (35,000 sq.ft.) and while the developer didn’t have any comment on what might fill the space, Save-On will vacate their current location. Both Canadian Tire and London Drugs have expressed interest in the past in locating in or near the mall.
Rumours have circulated since at least 2007 about Canadian Tire moving into the mall, but no official steps are being made public yet and an ICR representative would only say that it is among many possible tenants in the future.
Michelle Jones of Timberlake Jones Engineering which is working on the project, has said in the past, some re-zoning may be required for proposals down the road, including a second new building beside RE/MAX and the addition of a standalone Canadian Tire.
Once ICR receives final approval, the final design and construction could be as quick as nine or 10 months according to ICR, adding in the time to finish and stock the interior.
Council, with two members absent, voted unanimously to send the development permit application to their next regular meeting.