Trail OKs new church space and dealership expansion

Council approved two re-zoning applications in a public hearing Monday night

Room for a new church and more space for a car dealership were approved by Trail council this week.

Whenever new ventures require re-zoning, the city must hold a public meeting and give residents a chance to have their say about potential impacts before any changes are written into the books.

First up was the impending purchase of a home adjacent to Kootenay Chrysler on Highway 3B.

The car dealership proposed to buy the property and tear down the house to make way for a paved show lot. The property had to be re-zoned from Single Family Residential (Zone R1) to Highway Commercial (Zone C5) before work could begin.

Ken Smitheram, dealer and owner of Kootenay Chrysler, said the business would remove a large quantity of material and level the property to extend the parking lot. He said the main purpose, moreso than a parking lot, is to clear obstructed views onto the highway and ensure an ease of access.

One nearby homeowner spoke about concerns of noise, lights and dust. While he noted lights and construction noise can be mitigated, he pointed to past re-developments along the highway stretch that were stripped of vegetation and never re-landscaped or asphalted. Dust readily accumulates on his property, the man stated.

Smitheram replied that the job will not be piecemeal, the time frame is about three weeks and re-paving would immediately follow demolition. Lights could be set on timers and construction noise would be limited to typical day hours, not night or early morning, he added.

Council unanimously passed the re-zoning application during the regular meeting, after Corporate Officer Michelle McIsaac confirmed the ministry had approved the access change to Highway 3B.

The second public hearing dealt with the re-zoning of “Shopping Centre Commercial” at Waneta Plaza to include churches as a permitted use.

Alexander Wright, development coordinator with Anthem Properties Group (owners of the Trail mall) was on hand to address council about allowing Celebrations Church to lease a 5100-square foot room on the property’s second floor.

Wright said the existing space is vacant and not adding anything to the community.

Celebrations Church is a small congregation that would not stress parking spots and the group has the potential to add to the community, he added. Pastor Ron Wiseman was also in attendance. He agreed by saying the church would add revenue to the mall and bring quality to the community. Wiseman said, “So we feel it’s a win-win and we want to be good neighbours.”

Council unanimously approved the re-zoning request later in the regular meeting.