Quesnel City Council has approved the construction of a 2-unit commercial building on Rita Road.
Lyndon Hunter is a Planning Technician with the City…
“The applicant is proposing to construct a 232.34 metre squared commercial building with two units, a Subway and a non medical cannabis retail store. Staff just received notice of an application for the cannabis store from the province and are processing that application. Should this application not be successful the applicant will use the unit for another retail use.”
A variance was given for a smaller store in this case.
This regulation typically keeps smaller specialty stores in the downtown or West Quesnel business areas, but an exception will be made in this case.
Mayor Bob Simpson, while voting in favour of the change, did raise the concern about Subway moving and ending up with a vacant building downtown…
“We think the downtown core is vital enough that South Quesnel could handle some of these smaller retail and it wouldn’t detract from elsewhere. However we do have an issue here and I want to raise it, is that Subway, if they move into this space, they are emptying a space further down there. This is one of the balancing acts you’re doing all the time is you’re inviting investment and so on, but there are lots of communities that have fallen into the trap where you’re building space to move existing retail. And I don’t think that is, in general, a good a thing for us to do. I think we’ve avoided it in the past and we should be very careful that we’re not getting into that trap in the future, so just a little bit of a heads up as we get into our more formal planning.”
Councillor Mitch Vik expressed some concern over traffic in that area with additional stores, specifically when entering or leaving the parking lot.
City Manager Byron Johnson noted that a traffic study was done for this development…
“It indicated that the roads would be adequate for the developments. Council has in the recent past actually limited parking by big trucks on that whole stretch which has helped versus what it used to be. As far as other tools, those are at Council’s discretion. Council has the discretion over the roads in the community, so whether there is traffic calming needed, where there is perhaps a reduction in speed, or whatever is needed, those are Council’s tools to use in the future, so we can monitor the situation and if it seems to be getting worse, then bring recommendation to Council or there are all kinds of alternatives.”