THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Mayor and council voted unanimously to approve Pathfinder’s rezoning application at 8905 Park Drive.

Port Hardy council votes unanimously in favour of rezoning Pathfinder’s property

Prompt discussion yielded 6-0 vote to approve Pathfinder Development’s proposed rezoning application.

Port Hardy mayor and council were entirely in favour of a rezoning application following public hearings on the matter.

On Nov. 27, council went ahead with a second and third reading of Pathfinder Development’s rezoning application for 8905 Park Drive, which would mean the construction of a 100-unit apartment complex on the parcel of land if approved.

“We’re here this evening (Nov. 27) to talk about … the process moving forward with rezoning approval,” mayor Dugas said.

Coun. Wishart, also chairperson to School District 85, noted trustees were still concerned over the proposed access route. “My only concern is if we were to approve this, and for some reason, they can’t get rid of that access to the area from the top end of Seaview Drive, if we can then put a stop on it,” he said.

Coun. Wishart added that he wants “to able to have a conversation before it goes ahead,” in reference to the main access route if it were not to change from Seaview Drive.

Pathfinder addressed concerns stating they heard “loud and clear” from locals on the issue, Coun. Corbett-Labatt pointed out.

Director of Corporate Services Heather Nelson-Smith also noted Port Hardy council will be given an opportunity to discuss the second set of proposed architectural designs before construction takes place.

Bylaw 1088-2018, the district’s amendment to Bylaw 1010-2013, was then put to a second and third reading after public hearings took place Nov. 7 at 1:00 p.m and 6:00 p.m.

Coun. Tidbury was the one to move for a second and third reading, which then put it to a vote for council’s decision. Coun. Wishart immediately seconded the motion to have the readings.

“One of the reasons we’re dealing with this now as opposed to waiting, they wanted to have this zoning amendment in place for … their application to BC Housing,” said Coun. Robertson. The application deadline is January 2019.

Following a prompt discussion, councillors unanimously approved the bylaw amendment. Now, Pathfinder Development can now move on to the next stage of the project.

Missed some details on the project? Here’s what we know so far

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation expects to complete the estimated $35 million dollar project possibly by March 2019. The nation hopes to build at least 100 units with an average size of 1,250 square feet of livable space per unit.

Lourens LeRoux at Pathfinder Development said that after construction is complete, a Victoria-based organization will handle property management services for the 100-unit apartment complex.

M’akola Housing Society is the largest Indigenous affordable housing organization in B.C, according to their website.

The housing is intended for an upscale market, architect Derek Venter noted, “utilizing the views of the Bay. We do not see the owners taking the risk and not ensuring that the project is well managed in the future.” LeRoux also added that the project is also “a high-end development.”

The property approximately spans little under 800,000 square feet, but Pathfinder hopes to alleviate concerns over surrounding habitats.

The company contracted Strategic Natural Resource Consultants to conduct an environmental study within the area, taking into consideration what is known as a green belt. The green belt is a buffer zone between the development and wildlife habitats.

Venter also added that as far as the architectural plans go, both he and the company are “not married” to the proposed main access route going off Seaview Drive. Instead, the company has offered an alternative access route off Rupert Street or Park Drive.

“(We) have already been rethinking how they will change that to reduce the impact on the neighbourhood,” Venter said at the public hearing. A traffic study will be done to address locals’ concerns.

Units will have an average cost between $400 to $700 per month for tenants to ensure access to affordable housing.

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