Details of plans by the Nazko First Nation to develop the land on Hoy Street were unveiled at last week’s City Council meeting in Quesnel.
Tanya Turner is the Director of Development Services with the city…
“This proposal includes modular housing units, starting with nine units. The current River Rock Pub will be converted to office space and the dining and kitchen facility for tenants of the adjacent residential complex. The consultant has been advised to allow a layout to allow additional residential development in the future.”
Turner says for what is being proposed right now, the band doesn’t need RM-3 high density zoning…
“But we’re doing that because we very strongly expressed to them that we would like to see additional higher density development on this lot. The proposal will allow the Nazko First Nation to establish at this time however safe and secure housing options for elders and youth in need of housing in town.”
An Official Community Plan and zoning amendment allowing high density multi-unit residential uses on the subject parcel would be needed then, and staff has been asked to bring a bylaw to the February 2nd City Council meeting.
Turner noted that Council will get a full look at what this development will look like at that time.
Mayor Bob Simpson did express some concern about what was essentially paving the way for densification of this property…
“I think as a Council our final authority for the development of our community is our planning authority. It’s our ability to plan our community forward, and so when you’ve got a premium space like this, it’s overlooking the confluence of the Quesnel and Fraser River, it’s going to have a premium view etc, so a built up view of some kind would be premium real estate. So I did say to Chief Stump that we as a Council need to be careful that we don’t end up pinning a lot of properties in town, because money for social housing is available, and market development is slowed again, because we could negate a lot of the moving of the pieces we need in our housing strategy if we end up having no land for market housing development.”
Simpson says the seniors assessment that was done shows Council that if premium downtown condominium style, or some kind of housing that’s smaller footprint was available, it could get a lot of seniors out of single family residential, and make those available to the new families moving in.
He suggested that Council remember to keep it’s long term hats on when making decisions like this.
The project by the Nazko First Nation is pending approval of grant funding, through the Federal Rapid Housing Initiative.