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Community care facility gets initial go-ahead

A site rending provided by the applicant shows the proposed layout of a community care facility for Clearwater. The building would be located where the Bearview shopping centre was proposed earlier.  - District of Clearwater
A site rending provided by the applicant shows the proposed layout of a community care facility for Clearwater. The building would be located where the Bearview shopping centre was proposed earlier.
— image credit: District of Clearwater

Clearwater town council has given first and second readings to proposed zoning and official community plan amendments that would allow construction of a community care and/or complex care facility next to Highway 5 east of the roundabout.

The property’s owner, Ron Rotzetter, spent several years fruitlessly trying to get the land rezoned to allow development of a shopping centre.

His new proposal, however, got initial approval from council with little debate.

According to a report to council from staff, Rotzetter indicates the primary purpose of the development would be to provide assisted living, seniors housing and extended care facilities.

The proposed building would be on one level with a basement, a garden area, covered parking, storage facility and sidewalks. Access would be from Woreby Road.

The initial project would have 35 units with another 10 potentially added at a later date.

To allow for the new facility, Rotzetter applied to have the property re-zoned from R-1: Residential Single Family and Duplex to P-2: Institutional as well as a change to the official community plan (OCP).

Rotzetter applied in 2012 to have the property re-zoned commercial to enable the development of a shopping centre. Town council denied his application in 2016, arguing that the development was not consistent with the OCP.

In December, 2016, Rotzetter submitted a new application, this time for institutional zoning.

An important factor in town council’s willingness to grant the new re-zoning application appears to have been a campus of care feasibility study released in March of 2016.

That study indicated that there likely would be ample demand for independent living, assisted living and residential care in the municipality in the coming years.

It also outlined key facility requirements, design guidelines, and development concepts that should be taken into consideration when developing a campus of care facility.

Rotzetter has reportedly been made aware of the study and has been discussing with staff how his proposal could help meet the community’s needs as identified in the study.

Although the proposed zoning is not consistent with the area’s present country residential designation in the OCP, the OCP also calls for support for the creation of a multi-faceted health unit or wellness centre, and encourages assisted living housing and care for seniors and other persons.

When asked to comment on the re-zoning application, Interior Health noted that it appeared to be a good location for the proposed use due to its close proximity to the hospital.

A public hearing on the proposed zoning bylaw amendment will likely be held in early June.

Third reading likely will be done during the town council meeting scheduled for July 20, with final adoption on July 11.

Below: Map shows the location of a proposed community care faciltiy to be constructed next to Highway 5. The proposed Emerald Village housing project for seniors would be located immediately to the south.

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