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Rezoning of old arena site needs decision

Economic development society favours development

Powell River Regional Economic Development Society (PRREDS) is recommending the City of Powell River move forward on rezoning waterfront property known as the old arena site.

Jay Yule, PRREDS president, wrote a letter to Mayor Stewart Alsgard and council, urging them to make a decision on proposed amendments to the official community plan (OCP) and zoning bylaws that would change the designation of the property, located at the corner of Marine Avenue and Abbotsford Street, from parks and playing fields to mixed use.

“As council is aware, PRREDS strongly supports the city moving forward on developing the property in question and as a result supported the efforts to inform the public and gather input on the amendments being considered,” Yule wrote. “After a recent discussion, the PRREDS board came to a consensus that although there had been a request to seek further public consultation on this matter, it feels that it is not necessary.”

The board believes that people who have concerns about the amendments attended an open house and have made oral and written submissions to the city, Yule continued. “In addition to this, the PRREDS board is fully supportive of the original recommendation made by the development services department and believes that if the amendments are passed, council still has control over how the property is developed,” Yule wrote.

The city held a public hearing about the rezoning over two nights in June, 2010 and an open house in October. Subsequently, council asked staff to conduct further public consultation, by setting up sign boards in malls throughout the community.

Council discussed PRREDS’ letter at the January 6 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Scott Randolph, PRREDS’ manager, told council that further consultation didn’t occur because city staff is “very, very busy and we were unable to put together a time and place that we could do it. Our organization felt that going out on our own and doing that wasn’t right because obviously we’ve taken a preferred stance on the issue.”

After discussing the issue, councillors agreed to refer the recommendation to the January 20 council meeting.