Liquor store plans delayed – again

The development permit application for a liquor store on Alberni's lower Third Avenue is going back to the city for yet more revisions.

The development permit application for a liquor store on lower Third Avenue is going back to the city for yet more revisions.

City council voted to table the application a second time at their meeting on Oct. 28.

At issue this time is the matter of delivery trucks. According to the site plan, the trucks are expected to stop on Third Avenue then back into the new facility.

Two issues subsequently arose. One, the wrong size truck was used when assessing the turning path. Tests with a correctly sized truck showed that it passed over two parking spaces when turning in.

The parking spaces were taken out of the equation and the tests ran successfully. A third party transportation planner reviewed the plan and agreed that it accommodated the initial concern.

Coun. Cindy Solda said she canvassed two trucking firms about the truck turning path. One said it couldn’t be done, while the other said it’s not the greatest plan but that it could be done.

Mayor John Douglas asked Solda why she didn’t canvass city staff instead. “Because the city doesn’t have a semi,” Solda said. “If Mister Watson drove a semi then I’d ask him.”

City manager Ken Watson reminded council that council already approved the re-zoning. Further, that council’s only concern now was with the form and character of the facility and the requirements that needed to be met to that end.

Solda said she had no problem with the business, only with the trucks. “That’s what’s going to stop me from going further,” she said.

Solda suggested tabling the issue for a second time and having a third-party firm review the plan. Council can do that, Watson replied, “But a third party will likely find the same thing,” he said. “The review by the third party says it’s workable, not ideal — workable.”

Best Western Barclay Hotel owner Peter Muggleston took issue with the third party consultant used by the proponent, saying that the firm also examined the project on behalf of critics. Conflict aside, the issue of safety with trucks turning onto the property remained.

Council “doesn’t have the information to make an informed decision,” Muggleston said.

Project proponent Bhagwant Mann told council that he owns liquor outlets in four different municipalities. Mann said he’d waive the tax incentive he’d receive for building a new business in the area. But “This is the first time going through all of this,” he added.

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