Veterinary clinics may now be located closer to residential zones and in the commercial core after Prince Rupert City Council agreed to the third reading of zoning bylaw amendments on June 27.
While city planner Myfanwy Pope explained to council members the bylaw amendment around vet clinics was just a clarification, she said they have always been interpreted to be permitted under retail zoning bylaws.
The increased clarity can help support adoption of the use and facilitate development processes, she stated in her report.
Veterinarian, Dr. Carole Scholz told The Northern View that the bylaw clarifications make it far easier to set up a clinic for much-needed pet services. She said gone are the days when vets offered boarding services with loud barking dogs disturbing the neighbours. While a clinic may see increased traffic with from clinic staff and patients, neighbourhood considerations are respected.
“Vet clinics are much more of a medical facility today,” she said, with vets being in demand for medical services.
Scholz said she is planning a new clinic for the city, but there were so few spots in Prince Rupert where a vet practice could be established, it almost put her off opening one in the community.
“We were not in a position to purchase a property, wait for new zoning bylaws to be passed to construct a premises,” she said, stressing improved zoning clarity on where vet offices are permitted to be located will benefit the community.
Increased access to pet health care services is a principle supported by the Official Community Plan (OCP), Pope said.
“Currently, there are very few businesses offering veterinary or animal hospital services in Prince Rupert despite high demand,” Pope stated.
“The bylaw change would allow increased access for basic and emergency pet services, support the attractions and retention of residents to the field of work by implementing the opening of clinics, as well as potentially aid the effort in decreasing street cat populations.
If final approval is granted animal hospitals and clinics will be allowed as a land use in all zones that currently permit retail. This includes all commercial zones, all MD-Marina District, and M1 and M2 zones.
Dr. Scholz said the opening of a new clinic is already in the works, with a letter of intent to lease recently signed, as well as the name processes for the business completed, However, date of opening has not yet been set, which hopes will be before September, and she does not yet have a business phone number.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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