Village of Pemberton (VOP) development services manager Scott McRae was back in front of mayor and council at the Aug. 30 meeting to provide the next steps in the application process for Sea to Sky Community Services’ (SSCS) affordable housing project located on the corner of Harrow Road and Highway 99.
The five-storey project with 63 affordable housing units ranging from one- to three-bedrooms will also provide approximately 9,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space for community use. Most of that space will be used for a new SSCS office, while the remaining space can be used for any neighbourhood-serving commercial uses.
Currently, the Harrow Road location is not zoned for a housing development. McRae’s report was to seek first and second readings—which were ultimately approved by council—on a zoning amendment to change the location’s commercial tourism zoning to a comprehensive development zone, which would allow for both the housing and commercial spaces in that location.
One question brought up by Councillor Ted Craddock was regarding what type of businesses would be able to make use of the approximately 2,000 square feet of commercial space that won’t be used by SSCS, with his main concern being that he would like to see something of more value to the community than “just another coffee shop” using that space.
SSCS director of housing Jessie Abraham responded by saying the allocated commercial space will be intended for businesses that are complementary to the community.
“So that could include medical services, office services, administrative services, it could also include retail or some small food establishment that would support tenants or residents in the neighborhood,” she said. “So we do not have any tenants allocated for those commercial spaces yet, but it is something that we’ve included in our business case.”
While the project is trending positively towards ultimately being approved, there is still a long way to go and a lot of issues—raised by the community in two dialogue sessions in May—for council to iron out before full approval can be given.
However, as was brought up the last time the development was before Pemberton’s Committee of the Whole on May 17, the funding attached to the project has a deadline, and hinges on the proposed zoning amendment being approved before the upcoming municipal election in October.
The project’s zoning amendment will be brought back before council for its final readings on Sept. 20.
A public hearing is also scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19, where the community can share their opinions and concerns about the project with the developers as well as mayor and council.