City approves new school board office

City council has given the nod to a development variance permit related to School District #83’s proposed new office building, with the caveat that required sidewalk upgrades happen sooner than later.

A public hearing for the permit application was held last Monday. The school district sought variances for setbacks for the planned new office building at 451 Shuswap Street SW. In addition, the school district asked for several variances on frontage servicing requirements triggered by proposed subdivision.

Development services director Kevin Pearson explained the school district wants to subdivide the former J.L. Jackson property into three lots, with Lot 1 being the site of the new school district offices, lot 2 the Downtown Activity Centre and lot 3 the playing fields.

City bylaws trigger frontage improvements for all lots, including water and sewer upgrades, as well as sidewalk upgrades to the Town Centre Development Standard. The school district asked these requirements be waived for lots 2 and 3, and that a covenant be put in place “restricting any further subdivision or development, beyond what is proposed for development on proposed Lot 1, until each proposed lot is fully serviced to city standards.”

“While the bylaw actually asks for variances, in actual fact what we’re doing is deferring, because when you put the other piece that’s registered on title, we’re still going to be required to do them – all we’re doing is saying let’s defer them until we actually develop lot 2 and lot 3,” explained school district secretary treasurer Sterling Olson.

City staff recommended council support all the variances except for frontage improvements on Shuswap along lots one and 2 (to the corner of Fifth Avenue). Coun. Chad Eliason was agreeable to all  the variances except the sidewalk along Shuswap. He said he was looking for a compromise, and made a motion to defer the Town Centre requirements along lot 2, but require the extension of curb, gutter and sidewalk.

“I’m OK with not having the water and sewer upgraded at this time, but I would like the sidewalk done, because that sidewalk and those letdowns are not in great condition…,” said Eliason.

The motion was approved with Mayor Nancy Cooper and Couns. Marg Kentel and Eliason voting in favour, and Coun. Denise Reimer opposed. Coun. Debbie Cannon was absent and Couns. Alan Harrison and Ken Jamieson, both school district employees, had excused themselves for conflict of interest.



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