In December, the District of Sparwood started a conversation with local business owners about encouraging office developments in the downtown.
At a public hearing, the municipality heard concerns from members of the local Chamber of Commerce, and other business owners about the proposal, which would see office space removed as being a permitted primary use for buildings in the M1 industrial areas of town.
Some business owners like Chuck Shoesmith of Shoesmith Construction and Alex Millar, president of the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce told the mayor and council that businesses simply won’t invest in the town if there is too much regulation.
Cal McDougall asked to have the public hearing reconvene at a later date in order to have staff clarify whether or not offices for businesses that service the mines would still be allowed in the M1 Zone.
It gives staff time to consult with property owners who may be affected by the changes as well as research what sort of availability there is for office spaces in the downtown.
“There’s some confusion in the wording of the bylaw,” said the Mayor, adding that part of the one-on-one consultations with business owners is to ensure that the town and public are on the same page. “We’re not trying to squeeze out mining related offices,” said McDougall.
Staff will be bringing forward other options for consideration, such as having buildings with secondary uses as offices restricted to 50 per cent of their floor space.
A second option would be to have a new permitted use for mine-support offices.
“That option came about as a result of what we heard at the public hearing,” said Jeremy Johnston, planning assistant with the District of Sparwood. He says that after the meeting staff sent letters to about 50 property owners in the M1 zoning area, soliciting input on the regulations.
“The public hearing is still open,” he said, explaining that they will be taking comments and submissions until the public hearing is ended on Jan. 15.
Written submissions can be made to staff in the planning department by emailing Nelson Wight firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Johnson, email@example.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org