Revelstoke City Council approved a two-year Temporary Use Permit for workforce housing in Johnson Heights.
The applicant, who is working with Revelstoke Mountain Resort as well as the landowner, applied for a three year permit to place mobile camp units to house workers needed for construction projects at the resort.
However, council denied issuing the three-year permit, with Jackie Rhind, Michael Brooks-Hill and Cody Younker against.
Rhind then went on to vote in favour of a two-year permit, alongside Mayor Gary Sulz and Nicole Cherlet, saying she hoped that the shortened timeline would put pressure on the resort to complete the staff accommodations they are promising.
The project will see five temporary structures placed on the site that will house up to 60 workers, including cooking and living spaces and 75 parking stalls. The development will be surrounded by slated chain link fence as well as landscaping.
Along with approving the development permit, city council included a request that the trailers be painted a colour to better blend the landscape.
According to city staff, the resort also intends to extend a shuttle service to the area in hopes of avoiding an increase in traffic.
Brooks-Hill and Younker voted against issuing the permit, citing the ongoing update to the Johnson Heights Neighbourhood plan that indicates residents would not want such a development in their community.
The process, which is part of the update to Revelstoke’s Official Community Plan, has involved community meetings and surveys and is nearing completion.
“I feel if we support this we’ll be telling residents ‘don’t bother participating in these surveys because we are not going to listen’,” Brooks-Hill said.
Cherlet voted in favour because she sees a need for housing in Revelstoke.
“Every time we approve a development permit it is ‘where’s the staff housing?’ and finally, here it is,” she said. “It is something we desperately need.”
Mayor Sulz said, though he acknowledges and understands the concerns that the residents in the neighbourhood have, he doesn’t think this project will take away from the long term plan and development of Johnson Heights.
City staff are required by law to consider applications under the current Zoning Bylaw and Official Community Plan. The new plan for the neighbourhood will be adopted before the Temporary Use Permit has expired and city staff expect that the new plan will likely make an extension to the Temporary Use Permit difficult.
Prior to the Oct. 27 council meeting, the public was invited to give feedback on the proposal.
City staff claim the resort considered other locations, but Johnson Heights was the most appropriate due to current zoning and access to utilities.
Temporary Use Permits were added to Revelstoke’s Zoning Bylaw in 2019. At the time city staff indicated that a public hearing would be required before the issuance of every permit, however, when questioned at the meeting today, Oct. 27, staff said the Local Government Act does not have that requirement.