Oyser Bay Quay one step closer to adding uses

Bylaws to add uses to the light industrial building under construction on Oyster Bay Drive in Ladysmith received third reading.

The developers of Oyster Bay Quay

Oyster Bay Quay is that much closer to being able to attract a larger mix of tenants to the light industrial building under construction at 1030 Oyster Bay Dr.

Ladysmith council gave the bylaws amending the town’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw for this specific property third reading Dec. 3 following a public hearing.

The proposed changes to the bylaws for this property add to the definition of “industrial” by stating that the property at 1030 Oyster Bay Dr. is designated as Light Industrial and will continue to provide “significant floor area” for light industrial uses.

“Additional service commercial uses are permitted at 1030 Oyster Bay Drive to take advantage of the visibility to the highway and to complement other land uses in the industrial and commercial areas,” states the bylaw. “Permitted uses may include limited retail, offices and complementary commercial services. The maximum gross floor area for individual service commercial units shall not exceed 465 square metres (5,000 square feet) and the total service commercial use may comprise no more than one-half of the light industrial gross floor area.”

If the zoning bylaw is adopted, it would add a number of additional uses under the Light Industrial zone for 1030 Oyster Bay Dr. only, including retail store, coffee shop, business or professional office, personal service establishment, financial institution, business or commercial school, recreation facility, visitor centre or tourist bureau, animal hospital or animal grooming, custom workshop, and wholesale.

Council referred this application to the town’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC), which recommended approval of adding the additional uses for this site and this site only, with the following concerns — industrial zoning should be protected, parking shortages, diminishing downtown, road access, and drive-thru fast food is not supported, explained Felicity Adams, the town’s director of development services.

“The APC’s concerns have been considered in the bylaws by ensuring half of the building is reserved for light industrial uses, by requesting the parking analysis and by limiting the commercial floor area and unit sizes, and drive-thru is not permitted, nor is one proposed for this development,” she said.

The application was also referred to the Stz’uminus First Nation, and no comments have been provided.

The applicant held an information meeting Nov. 21 and reported that there were five attendees, and there was support shown for the development.

The town did not receive any written submissions or questions or comments by telephone or in person.

During the public hearing, project manager Bob Wall spoke on behalf of the applicants, Carol and Garry Wagenaar, owners of Terra-North Inc., the property’s developers. He told council this building is being considered a “gateway project” for Ladysmith.

“Some of the things that make this project quite different is it borders on part of the Trans-Canada Trail. We’ll be putting trees and shrubs and a walkway to continue the trail toward the water,” he said. “We’re going to be putting a plaza at the corner with seating for those who need a rest because we really see this as part of Ladysmith. We’re trying to do everything we can to include it in the walking mentality of shoppers and users and tourists in Ladysmith as well.”

Wall told council that they asked for some of these additional uses because people were interested in the project but they didn’t fall into the current guidelines.

“Also, in some cases, we’re very concerned that we fill it up fairly quickly and that the businesses that are there thrive, that we don’t just build a building and move on to the next project and it sits there empty — that’s a part of our commitment to our clients,” he explained. “The additional uses we’re asking for, a number of them are to complement the industrial uses that will be on the whole industrial level down below. A coffee shop in any significant development is, in our culture, a worthwhile amenity to put in a project. Some people like to have a chance to sit down partway through their shopping trip and visit and have a cup of coffee and rest maybe before they walk back across the highway and back into town.”

Wall says they want to create ties with the rest of the town.

“We see ourselves as part of the town and really are trying to do a development here that makes that transition and ties us to the town, with the amenities and destinations that will bring people across and at the same time trying to respect, for example, the industrial use Home Hardware has across the parking lot,” he said. “At that level is where we’ll be marketing the space to fill it as much as possible with any type of flooring, tile shop or a paint shop or anything that hopefully is going to make this area the home improvement magnet destination for the town of Ladysmith.”

After the public hearing, council gave the two bylaws third reading without any comment.

The bylaws still need to be adopted by council.

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