By Gerry Leibel
The setting up of a garden centre in the parking lot outside the city centre building was addressed by Kitimat District council recently.
This comes after District staff noticed a fence being set up in the parking lot in front of Kyle’s No Frills on Monday, April 10, as well as a garden centre stock stockpiled to one side.
District Chief Administrative Officer Warren Weycheshen said the District immediately contacted No Frills owner Kyle MacGillivray, in light of the fact that the District had not been approached for approval.
Despite not having approval for using public land for the garden centre, the District decided to allow MacGillivray to go ahead with the centre, which opened on April 13, pending a final decision by council.
One of the District’s concerns, about public liability insurance, was resolved by the District the day before.
“As soon as the fence went up we added the space to our insurance. We are covered in that regard,” said Weycheshen, answering a question by councillor Rob Goffinet.
Councillor Claire Rattée said she had received complaints about the loss of parking in front of the store.
“Approval should have been secured ahead of time,” said Rattée.
“Despite this, the garden centre has been very successful and we have something more to offer the community.”
She said she was aware that people were coming from as far away as Terrace to shop in the garden centre, which was good for the town.
The motion presented to council was for the issuing of a licence of occupation for approximately 2,800 square feet of municipal land, encompassing the 15 parking bays taken up by the garden centre.
It was also suggested that the normal application process be waived, which requires the internal review of an application by District staff, a report to council, public notice of the intention to issue a licence, followed by the issuing of a licence
Council was presented with two options, to either deny approval for the issuing of a licence or to approve the issuing of a licence with modified terms.
Following more discussion, the councillors voted and approved the issuing of a licence from April 10 to June 28 at a cost of $2,000, with the option to renew in 2018 with a different location.
MacGillivray said he had had very few complaints about the location of the garden centre.
“The few complaints have been about parking, but I have also received a lot of compliments and thank you’s for doing this,” said MacGillivray.