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Canadian Tire in Powell River wants expansion

City planner Rachel Pukesh outlined a proposal that would allow construction of an addition, complete with a detached seasonal garden centre in the store’s parking lot.
PLANS CONSIDERED: Canadian Tire wants to close in its existing garden centre and build a new one on the western side of the parking lot. The store is seeking a variance permit from City of Powell River to do so.

Canadian Tire is seeking a development variance permit to allow for exterior renovations and construction of a satellite seasonal garden centre.

At the April 5 committee of the whole meeting, City of Powell River planner Rachel Pukesh outlined a proposal that would allow construction of a 1,721 square metre addition to the west and north sides of the store, complete with a 506.5 metre detached seasonal garden centre in the store’s parking lot. Part of the request is to relax off-street parking requirements from 132 to 96 spaces, and to allow for an expanded fascia sign copy area on the store.

Pukesh said Canadian Tire’s operations have changed significantly, with an increase in online and e-commerce sales. There is also a greater emphasis on seasonal garden and outdoor living equipment, which requires more area to store and display, she added.

“It’s these operational changes that are really the driving force between this overall expansion and renovation plan,” said Pukesh.

She said Canadian Tire is looking to expand its operation and undertake an exterior renovation of the existing building, both to the façade and with new signage, to bring it more in line with corporate branding.

“Canadian Tire’s proposal represents a significant brick and mortar expansion and investment in a strategic location on the Joyce Avenue commercial precinct,” said Pukesh.

She said the garden centre is planned where the western side of the parking lot has been largely used for open storage and display of seasonal garden materials.

“An unfortunate byproduct of this use is less than ideal impact on the streetscape from Joyce Avenue, and it opened the product up to theft,” said Pukesh. “This kind of open storage does not align with the permitted uses under property’s C2 zoning, nor does it meet the uptown mixed use design guidelines, which require outdoor storage to be fully fenced and screened. This new, updated garden centre will help mitigate some of those concerns.”

In terms of reducing the parking stalls, Pukesh said consultants conducted an analysis of utilization and determined that less than 50 per cent of the parking stalls were used during peak shopping hours.

“The recommendation from staff is council consider the granting of this variance after the required public notice period,” said Pukesh.

Mayor Dave Formosa said it is a nice enhancement in tax dollars.

“It’s a nice enhancement to the shopping folks,” said Formosa. “I love to see common sense used, and when you go through this plan, it makes me feel comfortable. I’m in support. We are a community that is somewhat retail-starved.”

Councillor Cindy Elliott asked if bike parking was being increased at the store.

Pukesh said Canadian Tire has agreed to double bicycle parking under the covered area close to the storefront.

Councillor George Doubt said it is nice to see a business expanding. He added that it would be interesting to find out if the public had any input about the expansion of the signage.

The committee carried a recommendation to give notice of council’s intention to consider issuance of a development variance permit for the planned construction, the relaxation of off-street parking, and expansion of the fascia sign copy area.