A lively public hearing regarding a redevelopment of the Harrison Hot Springs Marina lasted an hour and a half last Monday, with opinions from those who oppose the project as well as those who support it.
The hearing was held to allow the public to air their concerns or support for changes to Village bylaws 1035 and 1036, in regards to a proposal to develop 102 Rockwell Drive.
The development could add up to 51 residential units along with commercial space, prompting concerns from the public about oversaturating the real estate market, drawing business from the Village core, and roadway safety.
The bylaws would need to be amended for the proposal to go ahead. Council held its regular public meeting the same night, and passed a second and third reading of the amendments unanimously.
Chuck Stam was at the meeting to represent the ownership group.
He said the development would make Harrison a more “desirable place to live, work and play” by “adding to the vibrancy of the community.”
The marina is in need of repair, Warren Moser told the Observer following the meeting.
“It’s been here a long time,” he said. “It’s tired and needs updates.”
He said the plan, which was published recently in this newspaper, will enhance the coast line and make it accessible to everybody. The plan includes a boardwalk that would allow pedestrians to walk between Rendall Park and the marina.
He said the amount of slips that end up being built in the new marina will depend on the number of parking spaces made available.
He said the public hearing was “the biggest hurdle so far.”
“This gets it 80 per cent out of the water,” he said.
The public asked numerous questions of both council and the developer.
Jane Kivett wondered whether there were any offers to build commercial developments in the Village core, to which Mayor Leo Facio responded: “Not in the last while, nothing concrete.”
Lis Scotson aired concerns that adding to the traffic on the “narrow and winding Rockwell Drive” would be problematic, and dangerous. She was told the project would include guidance from a traffic engineer.
John Allen spoke the longest, about numerous problems he sees with the project.
He feels it is not a safe building site, that the commercial development goes against the Official Community Plan and that the condos planned would leave the community with “an oversupply situation.”
Stam replied that a report has come back that the soil is compact and should hold an “unlimited” load.
He also refuted a suggestion that the plan pushes out into the lake.
“We are not expanding the foot print into the lake,” Stam clarified, adding that a 50-unit motel is already allowed within the bylaw.
Allen said the development would create a “satellite commercial area,” leaving the Village core with chain link fencing. Others stated their support for the building, noting that the downtown area could never provide the mix of a marina, condos and residential area.
The plan would potentially include $876,000 in development cost charges for the Village.
*Note: The original version of this story erroneously attributed a quote to Janne Perrin, when the speaker was in fact Jane Kivett. The Observer apologizes for the error.