Reports: Walmart breaking ground in Salmon Arm

Retail giant moving closer to Revelstoke retail sector with new location after controversial SmartCentre development gets underway

By Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer

One thing led to another last week as SmartCentres fulfilled its quest to begin building a shopping centre at the west end of Salmon Arm.

On Tuesday, March 5, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure signed off on a development permit for the shopping centre. Such a permit guides the “form and character” of a development. Later that day, the City of Salmon Arm was notified of the approval. On Thursday, both a development permit and a building permit were issued to SmartCentres by the city.

On Thursday afternoon, SmartCentres replied to a request from the Observer with regard to the corporation’s plans.

“SmartCentres will begin the first phase of construction including the widening of Highway 1, the development of an internal frontage road in addition to the first store,” said Sandra Kaiser, vice-president of corporate affairs for SmartCentres. “Construction is scheduled to begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Construction contracts have been awarded to Norson Construction Ltd. for the work on the site and BA Dawson Blacktop Ltd. for the offsites.”

Norson Construction Ltd. has offices in Kelowna while BA Dawson Blacktop Ltd. is based in Kamloops. According to Norson’s website, it was established in 1983 and offers general contracting, construction management and design build services throughout western Canada, serving its clients through offices in Vancouver, Kelowna and Edmonton.

BA Dawson Blacktop Ltd.’s website explains the company was established in 1969 and has been serving the concrete and asphalt needs of the Kamloops area for nearly 40 years. It states the company is an expert in the installation of all types of paving materials.

Asked about involvement of Salmon Arm trades, Kaiser said any subcontractors interested in working on the site should contact the contractors directly.

Although SmartCentres would say only that the anchor tenant will be announced in the next few weeks, tender documents circulated in the fall referred to a Walmart. Sources who saw the documents reported that the floor plan includes a grocery section with a deli and bakery area, as well as poultry and produce coolers, grocery aisles and grocery sales.

The store also included a medical/pharmacy-type centre, and a photo centre.

Initial perusal of the plans showed neither an automotive centre nor a fast-food facility, as some Walmarts include.

The building permit is for the largest building on the development plan at 96,857 sq.ft.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, says the development cost charges of approximately $320,000 have been paid, and the company will be spending about $600,000 on landscaping.

An amended development permit was approved by city council on Oct. 24, 2011.

One of the issues that MOTI had been focusing on in the fall prior to issuing its approval of the SmartCentres development permit last week was ensuring there was a sufficient buffer between the proposed structure and the Trans-Canada Highway to accommodate highway maintenance, such as snow-plowing.

The ministry notes that its approval is limited to considering issues related to the safety and operation of the highway.

Asked about reasons for the lengthy approval process, MOTI stated in an email to the Observer yesterday that the ministry was responsible for the timeline.

It stated that upon receiving the development permit from the city, the ministry undertook a technical review which included a consultation process.

“The ministry was responsible for the process and the timeline associated with the review.”

The site, the former Petty’s Meats property, sits on the north side of the highway bordering 30th Street SW.

 

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