SmartCentres’ latest plans successful

Planning meeting: Amended and new permit sent to council for hearing and final approval.

SmartCentres’ proposed shopping centre in Salmon Arm has received initial approval for its amended site plan.

At the Monday, Oct. 17 meeting of the Development and Planning Services Committee, council unanimously approved an amended development permit governing the form and character (appearance) of the development.

A majority of council also approved a new Environmentally Hazardous Areas Development Permit, which is necessary because the site is located in an Environmentally Hazardous Floodplain zone. There was no comment on the hazardous areas permit, which saw Couns. Ivan Idzan and Ken Jamieson opposed, but several councillors commented on the ‘form and character’ permit.

City planner Kevin Pearson explained that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had requested an additional 4.5 metre-wide road dedication for the highway for purposes such as snow storage. In addition, the Ministry of Environment requested a new Riparian Areas Regulation report to address the proposed extension of 30th Street on the north side of the highway.

Accommodating the ministries’ requirements means the developable land shrunk, and there will be no road up the northwest side of the property beyond the site’s new frontage road.

The new site plan incorporates the required changes by reducing the building space by about 13,000 square feet, from 236,000 sq. ft. to “220-ish,” said Nathan Hildebrand, SmartCentres’ land development manager.

The 96,000-square-foot Building ‘A,’ located on the west side and the largest building on the site, was shifted about 17 metres east. On the new site drawings, a truck depot area at the top (just north) of the building has been moved to the bottom left of it.

Building ‘B’ on the east side has shrunk dramatically, Pearson said, and has been tilted at 45 degrees. Building ‘C’ was removed completely.

Building H, which sits south of the largest building, was expanded. Altogether, 11 buildings are now planned for the site. Parking has been reduced from 953 spots to 881.

The transportation ministry vetoed the use of glass panels on the buildings facing the highway, which will be replaced by trellises and vines. One of three strips of grasses and three trees bordering the highway will be lost. Pearson said the landscaping plan has changed “overall, hardly at all.”

He said the company will be spending $5,000 less on an overall budget of half a million.

Couns. Kevin Flynn and Ivan Idzan asked if the permit is still subject to ministry approval. Pearson said it is, but based on conversations with MOTI, city staff “are fairly confident they’ll approve it.”

Coun. Ken Jamieson asked how much responsibility the city will have for maintaining the snow storage area along the highway when there’s no snow there.

Pearson said usually the city and ministry would have to come to a joint maintenance agreement.

Coun. Alan Harrison said he’s not too concerned with losing the one row of grass, as often salt and snow take their toll anyway. He also said there’s a dip along the highway and the trees will still be visible above it.

He asked about the reaction of the city’s design review panel  to the site changes, and was told they approved them unanimously.

Coun. Chad Eliason asked about the effects on the trail that will go around the north and east side of the development.

Pearson said it would remain the same except would be expanded on the northwest corner down to the frontage road.

The development permits will now go to the Oct. 24 meeting of council at 7 p.m. for a hearing and then decision on final approval.