By Matthew Peterson – Ladysmith Chronicle
Town staff will be working with proponents of a new development to try and incorporate some commercial space off Malone Road.
The request came from Coun. Jill Dashwood at the Sept. 6 meeting who said she wanted to see a small store or services that people could walk to.
“I would love to see way more commercial in the community,” said Dashwood, adding she would also like to see the town’s Official Community Plan updated to encourage more businesses away from the major centres.
“It would be nice if it were written somewhere that the town would be agreeable to that.”
The commercial space would not have to be big, said Dashwood, noting people would still travel downtown or to Coronation Mall for the bulk of their shopping.
“Just a little corner store, nothing invasive,” said Dashwood. “Just so people could walk to the store and get their newspaper, get their bread, get their hair done.”
Adding commercial space into new residential developments is a thought Dashwood said she has been mulling for years and this new project eyed for Malone would be a perfect fit.
“It’s pretty high density,” Dashwood said of the townhouses in the neighbourhood.
Dashwood said with all the development slated for the north end of town, it is important to layout plans for commercial spaces so people know exactly what they are buying into and not surprised by new businesses popping up after the fact.
“I don’t know that I would want to buy a lot with my ocean-view home on it and suddenly have a corner store built in front of it.”
During the meeting, Dashwood also commented that with the town’s push to be more environmentally conscious, they need to start making more opportunities for people to walk places.
Mayor Rob Hutchins also asked if there is a model to provide more lots as affordable housing. The developers already have one spot slated for a Habitat for Humanity project.
The development itself is calling for mixed residential use on 19 acres of land off Malone Road bordered by Rocky Creek and parkland to the north, a single-family residential neighbourhood to the east and the BC Hydro right of way and forestry land to the south and west. The proponent has pledged to protect the riparian areas around Rocky Creek.
The proposal calls for 103 multi-family units with a density of 37 units per hectare, seven single-family lots and 24 residential lots for either single-family lots or duplexes.
In addition to looking at the commercial space, council gave the OK to send the plans to the Advisory Design Panel and Advisory Planning Commission for comment and to schedule neighbourhood meetings.