This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News website on March 27th, 2012 and was written by Michele Young.
City council heard loud opposition Tuesday night from residents who live near South Kamloops secondary who don’t want to see a five-storey apartment building in the neighbourhood.
Council was still hearing from people at a public hearing and hadn’t made a decision by 10 p.m.
Most of the 60 people who crowded into the Interior Savings Centre for the public hearing said they didn’t want the five-storey, 52-unit housing development proposed for the church property at Ninth Avenue and Fraser Street.
Lion Rock Developments has plans to tear down the existing church and build ground level space for a small coffee shop, a 10-child day care, multi-purpose space and church.
But Michael Oatway, pastor at the Bridge Baptist Church currently renting the church, said if the building goes, so does his congregation.
The new building has a small space for a church, but it’s inadequate. So if the plan goes ahead, his church will go elsewhere, he said.
Fraser Street resident Barb Stratmoen, who has lived on Fraser Street for 30 years. She pointed out the area has three other apartment buildings in a three block radius that meet or exceed the recommended density in KamPlan.
“It’s a high density plan and high density proposal,” she said.
The height of the building would also see her lose her privacy and the parking lot behind her home — currently used by the school district office during the day and empty at night — is slated to be used by the apartment dwellers and their visitors in evenings and on weekends.
Don Ferguson of the recently formed Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association, said the largest elementary school in the city, Lloyd George, is a few blocks away, as is the largest high school, South Kamloops secondary. Beattie high school is also sharing space in the high school, making for even more traffic in the area, particularly when classes start and end.
Ferguson said there’s one four-storey apartment in the area, but the rest of the buildings in the neighbourhood are lower than that. There are no five-storey structures.
“We feel this is significant and overstepping the principles of KamPlan. What are targets and how will we know when to stop densifying for the neighbourhood,” he said.
He also appealed to council to do a neighbourhood plan for his part of town, too.
The owner of the four-plex right beside the church said he wasn’t notified of the developer’s neighbourhood meeting held back in October.
His tenants have lived in his building for years; one couple has been there for 37 years, he said.His concern was the building shadow would put some of them in the dark, and that parking behind his four-plex would be impacted.
City planner Linda Piroddi said the developer stepped back the top of the building and reoriented it to lessen the shadow that earlier plans had shown.
Lion Developments also plans to save the tall trees along Fraser and Ninth, she said. And there are 88 parking spaces included for the 52 residential units, visitors and other services in the building.
The units would be sold, and it would be up to the strata to decide if they could be rented out.