A plan to rezone the Masonic Hall to allow for furniture storage will move to a public hearing later this month.

A plan to rezone the Masonic Hall to allow for furniture storage will move to a public hearing later this month.

Storage proposal moving ahead

Residents will soon have their opportunity to weigh in a proposal that would rezone the Masonic Hall to light industrial

Residents will soon have their opportunity to weigh in a proposal that would rezone the Masonic Hall to light industrial in order allow the storage of furniture.

The concept, which would include the construction of a driveway leading to a dock area on the eastern side of the building, came before Prince Rupert city council for second reading on Sept. 1. Noting that there were concerns raised by residents related to noise, increased traffic and the impact on property values, city planner Zeno Krekic said such a rezoning request is becoming more common in the community.

“The City of Prince Rupert is at the brink of some major industrial development and whilst we are sometimes overrun with proposals, applications, speculation and interest, one of the areas that is sadly lacking in Prince Rupert is industrial land use. That is equally important for light industrial and heavy industrial,” he told council.

“While all this is taking place, developers are not willing to invest in developing industrial land, so we are caught in a situation that often translates into conversations … where ideas about using areas in residential or commercial areas for light industrial use. That is kind of counter-intuitive to planning principles. This is not the only application of this nature, but is the only application that has reached this far.”

Despite the potential issues related to industrial use in residential areas and  concerns of nearby residents, council gave the rezoning second reading in order to move the process toward a public hearing.

“It would be prudent for us to move forward to the public hearing stage to hear from residents that are going to be impacted because we have already heard some of those concerns, whether it be traffic or altering the character of the neighbourhood … I think a lot of people understand the balance we are trying to strike. This project addresses the shortage of industrial land with that permitted use, it encourages small business development, it encourages greater investment in Prince Rupert and it enhances our tax base as well,” said Coun. Blair Mirau.

“This proposal definitely warrants further consideration.”

While the proponent was asked to provide information on the use of swampers to aid the trucks in delivery and whether or not the backup beepers could be silenced, Krekic noted that a covenant would be placed on the recently rezoned site that would limit light industrial use to the storage of furniture.