Sicamous council has approved amendments for a new gas station along Highway 1, but remains concerned about access.
At their regular meeting last week, council gave a thumbs up to amendments requested for the development of a Centex service station and convenience store at 1305 Rauma Ave.
While the development permit was approved by council in 2016, the applicant submitted a redesign of the project earlier this year. Gone from the update was the previously proposed drive-thru restaurant, referred to as a Starbucks in an earlier design. In its place is a larger building, increased from 264 to 294 square metres, requiring a variance to the rear property-line setback, from six to 2.27 metres.
In a letter to council regarding the variance application, resident Garry Devos, who lives behind the proposed development, raises concerns regarding traffic problems already present near the Rauma/Highway 1 intersection – in particular, semi-tractor trailers that park long the eastbound lane so their drivers can access Tim Hortons.
“We do not need to add to the chaos,” writes Devos.
In an interview following the council meeting, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said council approved the variance application as the development is zoned properly for what they want to do.
As for the concerns raised by Devos, Rysz said they are shared by council.
“That particular location is a bit dicey because that’s located next to the Tim Horton’s operation, and we’ve got highway trucks parking right on the highway there and people walking across the highway,” said Rysz. “It’s a dangerous area and we’re really concerned about that.”
This concern is part of the reason why Sicamous council has been pressuring the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for a highway corridor plan, an outline of how the Trans-Canada will be redeveloped through Sicamous with the future construction a Bruhn Bridge replacement and the four-laning of the highway. Rysz said the 1305 Rauma Avenue development makes the need for such a plan even more evident.
“Here again, there’s that serious importance of us getting that highway corridor plan that will eliminate a lot of this grey area when it comes to somebody wanting to build a hotel, a motel, a McDonald’s or whatever they want to build along that highway…,” said Rysz “We’re kind of caught up in the mix of this. We know what we’d like to see, but the province and the Ministry of Transportation has to get this highway corridor plan in place.”