While overall comments at the public hearing regarding a proposed public use space across from Chandler Park were supportive, there were a couple of concerns voiced at the meeting last week.
Bylaws 1650 and 1651 were proposing to change the official community plan designation of the area adjacent to the school district’s maintenance yard from single residential to a public use two zone, suitable for the community centre the Grendel Group wishes to construct at the location.
Immediate neighbours Denere and Barry Broze, who wrote to council regarding the matter, don’t have any problems with the proposed use, however the design of the building had some concerns.
“We are very opposed to having a delivery driveway and garbage storage directly beside the area of our yard that we use for our solitude and enjoyment,” they wrote.
But the Grendel Group could modify the building, they suggest, and provide a hedge to separate the two properties, which would address their concerns.
And it’s certainly something council could bring back to the Grendel Group, Mayor Cress Farrow said.
“We can make recommendations or suggestions of ways that would accommodate the neighbourhood and make the property more attractive to the residents of the area,” Farrow said. “So we still have input.”
Another concern brought forward from the community was delivered orally by Jim Davidson, a former mayor of Smithers. His concerns were that this property would be more expensive to develop for the space than what the Grendel Group anticipated as there is no sewer hookup currently available, as well as the encroachment into residential once more.
Smithers, he says, only has so much room for residential development laid out by the Official Community Plan and this would decrease that number more.
“I think all of us understand that there is a continually growing need for residential housing,” Davidson said.
There were no other submissions or verbal reports regarding the matter. The second public hearing, that would reduce the parcel size required for a public use two zone, had no input, written or oral.
From here, the proposed rezoning and OCP designation will be discussed by council to see whether they want to move forward with or to leave as it is. Council will be reviewing the property over the next few weeks.