Warfield council quashes new business idea

“I think they got scared off by 20 people from a community of 1,400. And I don't think that's fair.” ~ Roger Larose

Roger Larose has lost faith in Warfield council.

The Okanagan-based business owner and eight-year village resident questions council’s efficacy after it pulled the plug on a rezoning idea for St. Joseph’s Church.

“I am disappointed,” Larose told the Trail Times Monday. “I think they got scared off by 20 people from a community of 1,400. And I don’t think that’s fair.”

In a three-to-two vote, last week Warfield council kiboshed Larose’s vision to convert the empty church into a retail space.

Warfield Mayor Ted Pahl says there was significant debate over the rezoning, but who voted in favour or against, won’t be public until the Sept. 16 meeting.

“It was a difficult decision as the purchaser seemed like a very professional guy with a solid plan for the building,” said Pahl.

Roger and Tina Larose planned to develop the property, which has been vacant 15 years, into a mom-and-pop shop for antiques, home decor, a woman’s boutique, plus new and used appliances, tools, and equipment.

Before they could proceed, the couple had to ask Warfield council to rezone the Lytton Street lot into General Commercial from its institutional/residential classification.

Written concessions to the bylaw amendment were inked prior to an Aug. 11 public meeting.

Those included, all commercial activity would be restricted to the alley side of the building, and no business operations like signage, inventory, or vehicles would be allowed on Forrest Drive.

Residents opposed to the business plan had their say during the public gathering. A roomful of neighbours voiced concerns about existing Warfield businesses, the current lack of parking and bylaw enforcement, increased traffic on Forrest Drive, and unknown future use of the space.

“The other thing, I think is quite important, is that I already brought up those things with council and put it in writing,” said Larose. “I think the people who showed up at the meeting are using me for a pawn. What I was applying for had nothing to do with bylaw enforcement. Regardless whether they passed me or not, it wasn’t going to solve those other problems.”

The Laroses maintain their shop would not have generated much traffic, as the business was considered a retirement “Kootenay time” venture.

“If there are people already racing down that road (Forrest Drive), then speed bumps should already be there,” Larose added. “My business wouldn’t have changed any of that. And they were worried that if the business didn’t work out, it could end up being a service station or something. We already struck out some of those things in the rezoning application.”

Pahl acknowledged public concern over increased traffic spilling onto Forrest Drive, but said council is reviewing bylaws and bylaw enforcement.

“To ensure if we move forward with certain types of zoning requests we have the tools in place we require to properly enforce infractions.”

At the end of the day, Warfield is down another business, says Larose.

“Warfield doesn’t have a lot of services and just lost a bank,” he said. “It’s not everyday you get someone coming in, wanting to take a chance and improve something like that. I think the community lost out on a good thing, that’s all.”

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read