The District voted unanimously to pass the first two readings of a zoning amendment proposing to add Recreation Facility as a permitted principal use for land zoned as C10 Agriculture Commercial.
In a report prepared for council staff said the applicant for the rezone is wishing to open an indoor electric go-kart facility. The proposed business would be located at 207 Loganberry Avenue.
It goes on to add that in addition to rezoning the land an official community plan (OCP) amendment to the land’s current designated use of Residential Small Holdings would also need to be changed to enable the commercial activity.
Councillors who spoke in support of the proposal expressed optimism that the development could fill a void in the community created by the loss of previous entertainment-based amenities.
“I think this is a good one,” said Coun. Mark Zielinski in support of the proposal. “Since the loss of our bowling alley and our theatre we’re very limited in entertainment for our citizens.”
However a number of councillors, despite supporting the first two readings, voiced concerns about impact on the local neighbourhood and said they were reserving their final decisions until after they had heard from members of the public during a comment period scheduled for May 4 at 7 p.m. at Kitimat Council Chambers.
Coun. Lani Gibson said she wasn’t sure a Go-Kart facility, even if it was done with things like noise and pollution in mind, was the best use of the location.
“We don’t really have a lot of land with agricultural potential in our community with maybe the exception of Strawberry Meadows,” she said. As part of the original community plan that was intended as an agricultural area so I’d much rather be seeing some sort of agricultural commerce.”
For his part, Mayor Phil Germuth said he wanted to hear from the public as well but that assuming it could be done, he was excited at the prospect of a Go-Kart arena in Kitimat.
“I am a Go-Karting fanatic, every city I go to I always look for Go-Kart tracks and I head straight there when I have time so I’d love to see the public input on this, I think it’s a great idea,” he said, adding that the noise from electric Go-Karts is “almost nothing” compared to older models which use gas.
The report to staff notes that the proposed draft bylaw reflects the conclusion that commercial recreation is a land use that is appropriate for inclusion in the C10 Agriculture Commercial Zone. In addition, staff have also recommended that the District add “Recreation, Commercial” as a permitted principal land use for all C10-zoned properties.
In terms of noise reduction, staff also noted that the bylaw includes a requirement of a landscape shield to be installed by the business proponent. In the end they seemed to suggest the end result would rely heavily on what the community had to say.
“Consideration of community impacts will help determine if proposed land use is a ‘good fit’ at this location,” the report to council reads. “An indoor recreation facility of this nature (Go-Karts) could be popular in Kitimat, which lacks entertainment options such as a bowling alley or a movie theatre.
“In light of [the] ongoing Downtown Master Plan process, there is also an argument that this land use does not suit City Centre or Strawberry Meadows.”
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