Opponents to the proposed Revelstoke Crossing shopping centre will once again have an opportunity to share their concerns with council – not that anything has stopped them to date.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, before a standing-room only audience, city council rescinded third reading of the related bylaw after it was revealed councillors may have received information pertaining to the development following the public hearing.
According to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, a municipal council, following a public hearing, cannot receive any correspondence from interested parties relating to the rezoning proposal – doing so runs the risk of having the bylaw quashed.
“What has brought about this rescinding is that information has come to myself and the CAO that there may be some violations of the public hearing process and we have decided that what would be better to do than move forward, and have the possibility of this bylaw being challenged, is to rescind third reading, go back and have a public hearing again, take information from the public and then come back to this table,” commented Mayor Mark McKee.
With the public hearing process beginning again, McKee said the city has spoken with the developer, Hall Pacific Enterprises, and they’ve agreed to host a public information session prior to the public hearing. He said this will likely occur within the first two weeks of November.
Prior to council’s deliberation on rescinding third reading, Coun. Trevor English recused himself, explaining how, due to the nature of his employment in the community, he may be in conflict of interest. Coun. Scott Duke was also absent, having declared a conflict of interest at an earlier meeting.
Speaking again to the reason for rescinding third reading, McKee said council may have received information pertaining to the development after the first public hearing.
“Although it’s suspect whether new information was brought to the table, the concern was that the process has been tainted and that’s the reason why we are starting this all over again,” said McKee. “I don’t think that anybody is being accused of doing anything wrong. I think what we have here is… a council that is enthusiastic, energetic and I think perceived by a lot of the community as being approachable.
“Those are all good attributes to have at a council table. Sometimes not so much when you’re in the process of a public hearing because of the rules and regulations around the process of a public hearing.”
Council gave third reading earlier this month following a contentious one-hour debate. Couns. Aaron Orlando and Connie Brothers voted against.
The zoning amendment is to add grocery store and pharmacy use to the Revelstoke Crossing property at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 23 North.
Hall Pacific wants to develop a shopping centre on the property.
The development was strongly opposed at the first public hearing, with most of those opposed arguing it was not the right development for the property, and that it would hurt Revelstoke’s downtown core. The proponent stated the development will generate $20 million in economic activity, increase the tax base by $500,000 and create 200 short-term and 200 long-term jobs.