Fred Green speaks to the public at Eagles Hall (Cole Schisler photo)

Old police station development going ahead as “mixed-use” site

Fred Green hosted the second public consultation on what should be done about the decrepit building

Ladysmith developer Fred Green hosted the second of two voluntary public consultations on what should be done about the old police station.

The meeting was well attended by community members. Many residents were excited about what Green and project architect Angela Quek would reveal to the public, however some residents expressed concerns.

RELATED: What would you like to see at abandoned Ladysmith police station site?

Survey feedback from the first meeting indicated that the public would like to see the property put towards mixed use, rather than purely commercial, or purely residential. Residents also expressed a desire to see some form of community gathering place, most commonly in the form of a brew pub, or cafe/catering site.

“There seems to be a pattern, both in the discussions we were encouraging, and the unrelated Facebook discussions, that there does seem to be pretty high counts for people interested in some form of community gathering location,” Green said.

Green said that the community feedback aligned well with his views for the site. Based on that feedback, Green and Quek presented a four-storey building. The first level would be for commercial use with a larger footprint, and the upper three levels would be for housing with a smaller footprint. The units would likely be one-bedroom apartments rented out through a property management company. Green estimated there would be about 12 units of housing, and 40 commerical jobs created by the site.

RELATED: Another chance scheduled to plot a course for old Ladysmith police station

Neighbours of the site expressed concerns that any residential units with balconies would be able to overlook into their homes. Some neighbours were also concerned about their views being disrupted by the new building. Quek and her team developed a design concept for the building to address these concerns.

“We are going to build, it is going to happen, but we’d like to do as much as we can in terms of respect for that relationship,” Quek said. “There’s also the existing building, which is important to remember. It’s one-storey right now, and very close to the neighbour. So, what we thought is that if we have that, and we have it about the same mass… we’re going to pull it a bit further away, and give it more breathing room. As we go up, we have more overlook. It’s definitely something we should consider, so we stepped it back, and what that does is it gives a bit more breathing room around the sides.”

Also, the corners of the building would be cut in, and any balconies would be placed in those corners to limit overlook and increase the field of view.

After the presentation was a lengthy question period where residents expressed support for the project, as well as concerns about the impact on the community. One of the main concerns was about the issue of parking. Due to land constraints, it is impossible to have underground parking at the site. That leaves only 20 above ground parking spaces on the lot, with the rest to be determined by the Town of Ladysmith’s planning department.

“It has been no end of frustration, but it is part of the process that one must go through to try and create sufficient parking capacity on site and or in the immediate neighbourhood,” Green said. “It will be done to the standards of the town. That is my commitment, and that is also the demand.”

Residents also expressed concerns about hours of operation. One estimate given was that the commercial properties would be in operation from 7 am – 9:30 pm if the businesses do in fact become a cafe and a community brew pub. Green was adamant that the brew pub would not be like a night club or sports bar with loud music and obnoxious lights, instead it would be a place for community members to meet and engage in conversation.

The site is currently zoned for commercial use, and has been for about a decade. Now that Green is going ahead with a mixed-use design, he must apply for rezoning of the site. This process could take between six months to 12 months depending on the volume of zoning applications the town is dealing with.

Despite all the concerns expressed, the meeting was positive about the new development. One of the most vocal supporters was Thom Allan, a neighbouring resident of the proposed project.

“I live three doors down in a 100 year old house, and I just wanted to say that we’re really stoked about the opportunity to have this in our neighbourhood. People might not remember that this whole block used to be a cow farm 100 years ago, and that there was no buildings. As buildings came in… it changed everything in the neighbourhood. The change isn’t necessarily bad, it just is change. The patio homes look into my yard, that doesn’t upset me, that’s just the way it is. If this building pops up and it looks into someone’s yard, or it makes a bit of noise, or steam, or smell, it’s not the end of the world. It’s progress,” he said.

Just Posted

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

49th Parallel invests in their employees leadership potential

49th has sponsored 22 employees to go through the Leadership Vancouver Island program

Yellow Point Ecological Society releases video advocating for the protection of private forests

The group is concerned about the loss of forests in the Yellow Point area

LSS improv program gives students an opportunity to be themselves and entertain others

The Ladysmith Secondary School improv program has planned two weeks of shows for the community

New Sonic the Hedgehog trailer shows off Ladysmith and new character animation

At long last, Sonic the Hedgehog will hit theatres on February 14

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read