Pemberton bylaw amendment to keep retail downtown 

Keeping retail downtown

The Village of Pemberton (VOP) held a public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 1 to discuss an amendment to a zoning bylaw designed to keep retail in the community’s downtown. Only two members of the public appeared to voice concerns about the proposed amendment.

The bylaw originally called for the retail along Portage Road to be that which "specialize in goods and articles that are used in the pursuit of outdoor recreation and leisure activities."

The bylaw was put in place following development of residential/retail buildings along the road that leads from Highway 99 into downtown. Village merchants were concerned that the new retail spaces would divert consumer traffic. The issue re-surfaced earlier this year with the appearance of a children’s clothing store on the street. The store, Lil Spuds, was granted an exemption from the bylaw.

The proposed amendment, which received third reading at the VOP council meeting, also on Aug 1, contains an expanded definition of what constitutes outdoor recreation and leisure activities. The new wording calls for retail that: "specializes in the selling, renting and repairing of goods and articles that are used in the pursuit of recreation and leisure activities of the outdoor variety, such as skiing, snowboarding, cycling and mountain biking, hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking and canoeing, and other similar activities, and would exclude stores where the merchandise in not the principal focus of such activities."

The narrow range for potential retail in the C3 zone was surprising to one of the attendees.

"Is our retail zoning to the point where we define retail zoning in sub-categories in the Village of Pemberton? I wouldn’t have thought we needed to classify retail so succinctly," suggested Paul Edgington.

Mayor Jordan Sturdy and David Allen, director of development services for the VOP, explained the history of the bylaw and that its intent was to keep the community’s core from moving to the junction of Portage Road and Highway 99.

Another concern, which Mayor Sturdy noted, came from Lisa Ames. Ames was concerned that a number of the owners of the strata units, as well as other development stakeholders, live outside the community and would not have been aware of the hearing. She suggested that an appropriate course of action would have been to notify these individuals by mail.

Legally, the VOP only has to advertise the meeting in local newspapers.

The amendment is scheduled to receive fourth and final reading at the next regularly scheduled council meeting, Tuesday, Aug 15.

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