Co-op Gas is proposing to open its third Port Alberni gas station on 10th Avenue just north of the Tim Hortons. If the proposal goes ahead, it would create at least six new jobs.
The gas station, would occupy of four legal parcels. Three of those parcels are currently unoccupied while the fourth has an existing single family residence that is set to be demolished.
According to city planner Scott Smith, the four lots would have to be consolidated to one legal parcel.
The proposed four pump, eight lane gas station and convenience store would be unique in Port Alberni due to being the first mid-block gas station adjacent to a residential neighbourhood.
Although there is an empty former PetroCanada lot on the south-west corner of that intersection, Alberni Co-op general manager Glenn Downton said at an advisory planning committee meeting on Feb. 19 that the space was too small for the design they had in mind, as well as requiring any delivery trucks to park along the road rather than on the property.
“I’ve been with Co-op for 18 years and we’ve been looking in south port that entire time,” president Ray Dol said.
As 10th Avenue is designated as an arterial road in the Official Community Plan, “both the engineering and planning departments have some concerns regarding the number of traffic movements and impacts on 10th Avenue” from vehicles turning left either into or out of the proposed site’s three access points. Dol said that the gas dispensers would be angled to create a natural entrance and exit point onto the property.
The site would have two access points right onto 10th Avenue and one onto the lane in between the site and the Tim Horton’s adjacent to it.
“Right now the intersection functions reasonably well,” said Smith, but cautioned that as a fairly busy intersection “when new developments are being proposed you need to be sensitive that you are not creating a problem that isn’t there.”
Smith stated that there were no plans on the city’s side to place a median along 10th Avenue and that he did not believe one was necessary.
Dol said that the priority for Co-op’s proposed new gas station was “to make this a project that’s going to work for everyone” and that “neighbouring businesses and residences need to have some certainty and some piece of mind.”
According to Smith’s report, “a cross-section and a more detailed access plan should be required. It is strongly recommended that these plans be required prior to the scheduling of a public hearing.”
The proposal is expected to come to council on March 9 and a public hearing is expected to be scheduled in the coming months.