Work to construct a new building near Walmart to house Sport Chek and The Dollar Tree will start soon, after council approved a development permit on Monday, March 18.
It was the second time council discussed the development; on March 4 council postponed its decision over concerns with traffic flow into and around the site.
But since that meeting, the developer, Smart Centres, has committed to contributing $5,000 to the city for a traffic impact assessment, and that pledge was enough to convince council to approve the 22,000 square foot building.
“I am very pleased to see that Smart Centres will provide a letter of commitment to provide a $5,000 contribution to the city to undertake a traffic impact assessment of the road system leading up to the complex,” said Mayor Wayne Stetski.
The new building will be located opposite Walmart where the yellow bins used to be, between La Vie En Rose and EB Games. Part of the parking lot will be swallowed up by the construction, but an additional 200 parking spaces will be created in front of Home Hardware and beside Walmart.
A new sidewalk would be built from McPhee Road through the property to the existing sidewalk on Willowbrook Drive.
“I’m very pleased that this project is going through. It just means that other businesses from outside our area think that Cranbrook is a viable economic place to do business,” said Councillor Denise Pallesen. “It’s not just the folks in the city that will be going to these two new stores; it’s the draw from around here of 50,000 people up the valleys and down to Creston. They don’t all come in just to go to Sport Chek – they’ll go to the Tamarack mall, they’ll go to Superstore, they’ll even go downtown. So I’m pleased with any economic growth. I think these are great businesses.”
At the last meeting, council and city staff expressed concern about traffic congestion coming into the complex from Tim Horton’s and traffic flow within the site.
The $5,000 commitment from Smart Centres gave council reason to approve the development on March 18, although Councillor Bob Whetham suggested the developer look again at traffic issues.
“My only issue is the traffic circulation within the site. It’s no great shakes right now – parts of it are like a free-for-all,” said Councillor Whetham. “I think ultimately you have to satisfy the customers as well. If it’s difficult to move around the site, then that’s not going to be a positive thing.
“Some of these things it would seem to me should be able to be resolved without a great deal of difficulty.
“I hope the developers will look into that as a service to the customers.”