An application for an overnight shelter will be presented at a forthcoming next city council meeting, as councillors voted on Monday night to punt debate on a proposed planning amendment for an adjacent property beside the proposed site.
The proposed planning amendment, for a vacant property near the Memorial Arena, is currently zoned for high density residential, while the applicant is asking to rezone for park, recreation or institutional land use.
However, council balked at starting the rezoning process without having all the details for the pending overnight shelter proposal that will be on the adjacent property, a project that will be made public in the coming weeks.
“I don’t want to vote on something without seeing the plan for the facility here at the table,” said Coun. Wes Graham, who made a motion to defer discussions on the planning amendment for the vacant lot until the next meeting. “So I have no problem postponing this until a plan comes forward. I’m not prepared to support it tonight.”
Councillor Ron Popoff agreed.
“In all fairness, I think if it’s going to go public and we’re going to get feedback, everyone needs to know what the total plan is, as opposed to just one piece of it,” he said.
The proposed overnight shelter site currently houses the Community Connections Society of B.C., with the vacant adjacent property currently serving as a parking lot.
From a procedural standpoint, there will be some implications for the applicant, 2 Baker Developments, which is headed up by Terry Segarty.
By postponing the planning amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP), the pending re-zoning applications for both properties to accommodate the proposed overnight shelter will be dealt with separately.
The public consultation process will be triggered once the first readings for the rezoning applications are passed.
“Generally, I’m inclined to support first readings on most issues,” said Coun. Wayne Price, who initially advocated for passing the first reading of the OCP amendment. “I think it’s a pretty effective way to start the process and we’re going to generate public engagement. This issue’s gonna get controversial, I anticipate, and I don’t think it’s fair to the public if we dismiss it too quickly.”