The city’s new batch of elected officials appears more receptive to the rezoning of heavy industrial land than the previous batch.
A fitness centre proposed for a property at 4260 Fifth Ave. E. was denied by the past city council due to the building’s location on land zoned as heavy industrial.
On Monday, the city’s new batch of elected officials passed first reading of a bylaw that would see the land rezoned as light industrial, which would accommodate the fitness centre and other businesses that have expressed interest in leasing building space.
“At this point in time we have six different tenants would like to rent in … our building who cannot because they do not fit the M1 zoning,” Tamarack Ventures owner Josh Remai told council.
An administration report on the proposed rezoning, prepared by city planner Craig Guidinger, suggested that city council deny first reading of the bylaw rezoning.
“The City of Prince Albert is currently facing a shortage of heavy industrial land that is ready for development,” the report reads.
“Allowing these lighter industrial uses will only add to this problem. There are currently vacant sites/buildings in the downtown district and other commercial and lighter industrial areas of the city, which can accommodate these uses.
“It is very difficult to attract business and revitalize the downtown area if suitable businesses are relocating to areas that are intended for heavy industrial uses.”
Coun. Rick Orr, whose ward includes the city’s downtown core, expressed concern about reducing the amount of heavy industrial land that is available.
At this point in time we have six different tenants would like to rent in … our building who cannot because they do not fit the M1 zoning. - Josh Remai
“It’s my concern that we encourage our development, but we encourage it to the zoned land that we have,” he said.
“In this case I will support those new businesses and new jobs that will drive our city in the right direction in the future.”
For Coun. Martin Ring, the piece of land’s situation off of Highway 3 makes it ideal for the type of light industrial zoning Remai wants.
With a large piece of land across the highway recently annexed from the RM of Prince Albert, Ring said that, pending council decision on its zoning, will likely be more along the lines of light industrial than heavy industrial.
“This is a continuation,” he said of the Tamarack Ventures property. “To me, it’s a perfect fit for these properties to be along this highway, to be along this entrance to our city, that they be that type of commercial-looking development as opposed to a heavy industrial development, so that’s why I’m encouraging this to move forward.”
Responding to a concern of Orr’s about traffic congestion at Marquis and Fourth Avenue East, Coun. Ted Zurakowski noted that when properties are rezoned away from their original purpose, traffic issues sometimes arise.
“I think we need to be cognizant of that in the future when we do our planning,” he said.
With city council granting the rezoning bylaw its first reading, a public hearing will be announced in the near future for additional public input prior to potential subsequent readings and implementation.