The city council meeting yesterday saw plenty of action and was dominated by two major discussions.
This first was the presentation to council by Mackenzie Village developer David Evans.
Evans explained that his efforts in bringing phase two and three of Mackenzie Village had become a long and drawn out affair. He requested –
“A) our application be placed on the council agenda for consideration as required by section 416 (2) of the local government act, by the first council meeting in February 2019. B) staff be directed to prepare a report to council prior to that date in accordance with bylaw 2097. C) we be afforded the right to speak to staff’s recommendation at the hearing as per section 7.2 of bylaw 2097.”
As Mayor Sulz was thanking Evans for bringing his concerns forward, Evans interrupted to suggest any council members wanting to make a motion could do so. He was politely corrected by the Mayor as he told Evans “That’s my job, not yours.”
After Evans answered questions from both councillors Younker and Elliot, Mayor Sulz encouraged Evans to sit down with the new Director of Planning, Ms. Wade. This would ensure that Evans’ application is complete before it comes to council.
“This council and the council in the past are quite supportive of moving your project forward, but we have some legal issues, and we can’t deal with anything until those items are complete,” said Mayor Sulz.
The city’s Chief Administrator Allan Chabot noted that Evans presented, “a pattern intended to depict the level of effort and professionalism from the staff on this matter, and despite the shortage of the number of face to face meetings, Mr Evans neglected to mention any meetings Mr. Thomas may have had with his architect or engineers. The level of effort and expenditure from the city trying to advance this application is very large as well. We understand where the community is and we are not making any attempts to withhold or hold back or change the goalposts on this application….we are trying to move it forward in accordance with…the master development agreement.”
Evans then commented that he had been given road maps to go forwards by Chabot twice in 2018, and neither map led his development forward. Evans mentioned a pattern where,”we are told we will go to council in the next six weeks, subsequently followed up with a letter that staff will not meet again or discuss application.” He believes the city is changing ‘goalposts’ and that obfuscation was pushing things back, and requested a firm deadline.
Mayor Sulz declined a deadline. He again requested that Evans meet with Ms. Wade. The Mayor believes the council is dedicated to moving projects for forward but would not be ‘handcuffed’ to a timeline.
Evans noted that he will meet with the new planning director, but only has about three more months of effort he is willing to put into the project before it is abandoned.
The other major conversation revolved around Revelstoke’s first proposed retail cannabis store. The American franchise Starbud hopes to open a location at 103 Connaught Avenue. To do so, they need council to write a recommendation and send it to the Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch so they can pursue the next steps. The location is zoned C1 and, if approved, the store would operate the same hours as a liquor store.
The motion was eventually carried, but not before the residential neighbour at 105 Connaught spoke up with concerns about parking and safety. Liquor stores, she noted, are not directly attached to residential buildings, and she believed the cannabis stores should follow suit. There are still several regulatory steps to follow before approval.
For the full meeting, please see below.