City Brings Housing and Sets Sights on a Reimagined Green Space & New Play Area in South End
City of Castlegar Council approved a four-storey development which will add 11 live/work spaces, 43 housing units, commercial space, and vehicle and bicycle parking at 2405 Columbia Avenue and 2404 6th Avenue.
This development required a Zoning Amendment which has been issued to Nexus Development Group and Sutherland Group Enterprises. The two properties are City-owned and are expected to be transferred next month.
While engaging with the community, both informally and through the Public Hearing process, the City heard from over 85 people. Council heard support and concerns about the loss of green space and play equipment, the former Bob Brandson Memorial Pool, traffic, parking, commercial space, and suitability of the location.
“As Mayor and Councillors, we have to look at the impacts of a development like this and weigh them carefully against our strategic priorities and the needs of our growing community,” says Mayor Kirk Duff. "We know this decision may not be popular with everyone, but we believe it’s the right one to add much-needed housing in Castlegar, take a modern planning approach by integrating new housing and parks into the same neighbourhood, and position the City for the growth and development that is needed long-term."
When making its decision, Council considered the following:
Green space - To minimize the loss of green space, the City retained the existing park space at 2412 6th Avenue. When combined with green space from the development, the loss of green space is 1,355 square metres or 33 per cent. The City will enter into a reciprocal easement regarding the use of the development’s green space.
Existing play equipment - The development included a commitment to relocate the existing play equipment to the adjacent property at 2412 6th Avenue. This equipment was scheduled to be assessed as part of the City’s Park Asset Management Plan which will determine whether it is at the end of life or requires replacement. Rather than waiting for this, the City will expedite engagement with the community in 2022 to identify priorities for the green space and play area and reimagine the space. These improvements will be done in conjunction with the development construction schedule, using funds from the City’s Park Reserves.
Former Bob Brandson Memorial Pool - The history of this property is deep and sentimental. The former pool (decommissioned in the 1980s) was constructed, financed, and donated by members of the community following the drowning death of Bob Brandson. This story is not currently captured at the property. The City will work with local historians and community members to better capture the story associated with Brandson Pool and commemorate these memories on site.
Parking - The development includes a variance to the City’s on-street parking requirements from 118 spaces to 83. In response to concerns about parking impacts, the City will require the developer to provide additional on-street parking.
Traffic - Concerns were raised about potential impacts on vehicular, pedestrian, and cycling traffic. A Traffic Impact Assessment identified infrastructure for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians currently exists and has been determined to be adequate and safe, with only minor modifications needed. The developer will be required to install a stop sign for traffic entering 6th Avenue and sidewalks along all street frontages. The developer will analyze the on-street parking and 24th street cycling route to determine the safest and most practical option.
Suitability of the location - Following an investigation of land throughout the area, the developer selected this location based on its suitability and proximity to amenities. The development is in alignment with Transition Area within the City’s Official Community Plan and the corner of Columbia Avenue and 24th Street is specifically identified as a focal point under the Plan.
Loss of trees - The proposal will result in the removal of four mature shade trees. The developer will be required to include replacement landscaping to compensate for the loss of these trees, but it is anticipated that it will take several years before there is equivalent shading provided from the plantings.
The development supports City objectives, including:
- Official Community Plan which identifies this area as a Specific Growth Area and Transition Land-Use Area which aims to encourage residential infill and mixed-use residential and commercial development that contribute to community amenities and walkability with 24th Street intersection with Columbia Avenue identified as the specific focal point.
- Housing Strategy which aims to improve the City’s housing supply and ensure the development of a wide range of multiple-unit housing forms.
- Economic Development Plan which aims to add employee housing and encourages mixed-use development with work-live units in support of small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Find all information related to the development proposal at castlegar.ca/development.
Construction is expected to start this summer. For information on the development, contact: email@example.com.
The City of Castlegar is a service centre in the West Kootenay. The diversified and growing economy is focused on the forestry, energy and mining sectors in the valley, and commercial services in the City. Quality of life features backcountry adventure and an increasingly dynamic urban culture, including the Millennium Park & Ponds and Sculpture Walk.
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