Co-op, city hear complaints

The proposed new Co-op Gas station might have some upset neighbours if it goes ahead.

The proposed new Co-op Gas station might have some upset neighbours if it goes ahead.

The city held a public hearing regarding the proposed rezoning of four parcels directly north of the Tim Hortons on the corner of 10th and Redford.

City planner Scott Smith said the advisory planning committee initially had some concerns about the development, however, “the applicant did submit revised plans.”

Some of the main revisions to the application were the reduction of access points from three to two, changed configuration of the convenience store to a more long, narrow shape and an allowance for the gas pumps to move further back from 10th Avenue.

The surrounding area is a mix of residential and commercially zoned properties, the latter of which could pose a concern.

“I firmly vote no and I urge council to vote no as well,” said Jeff Vigneux, who lives adjacent to the proposed development.

“There are four residential lots that you’re going to make into one commercial lot when there’s a commercial lot just south of Redford.”

According to Ray Dol, president of Alberni Co-op Gas, the development site was chosen after 18 years of looking for a suitable location in South Port.

“By no means is this just an ‘oh look there’s a piece for sale, let’s grab that and run with it.’ We have looked at a tremendous amount of properties.”

Dol added that “unfortunately, in our little town there’s not a lot of good sites to work with.”

The former Petro Canada site would not work for what Co-op had in mind, he said.

“It was not a good, viable, safe location. It had some significant traffic problems…there’s a reason why it closed.”

Michele Vigneux, Jeff’s wife, stated that “it’s a little disturbing that a gas station is going to go right beside me.”

She said that she was frustrated that throughout the process so far, no one had come to speak with her or her husband in person.

“Environmentally, I have grandchildren, children, I do not want tanks situated right beside me. I do not want to grow a garden in my yard anymore. The value of my house has now gone down and nobody in this room, nobody would want to live beside a gas station.”

Dol said that “it’s unfortunate the immediate neighbour is not happy to see it go in. I don’t know how to even make them feel happy about it.”

However, Dol did defend Co-op’s environmental standards.

“Our facilities are the highest class out there, we have no environmental issues at all. Everything that’s installed underground is all double-walled and monitored 24 hours a day.”

Dol also said that Co-op would put in either a fence or a hedge between the gas station and the neighbours in consultation with them.

According to Smith, “even if the proposed rezoning [from residential to commercial] is approved, the applicant would still need to come forward with a development permit for city council’s approval and that’s where we would get into final site design.”