A size restriction on retailers in the Keating X Road area of Central Saanich is well on its way to becoming history.
After more than 30 minutes of discussion, council voted 5-2 on third reading last night of a pair of bylaws that would remove the restriction.
“It was good to hear the views and there was a good airing of the issues,” said Mayor Alastair Bryson.
Bylaw 1760 would amend the official community plan in Central Saanich for large retail uses in the industrial area on Keating X Road by removing the 5,000 metre square floor area restriction for single retail use.
Bylaw 1761 would amend the land use bylaw similarly, allowing for larger floor area ratio, but would affect all land in the district zoned light industrial (L1).
“I think the prevailing thoughts were that this limit that Central Saanich has imposed upon itself of 54,000 sq. ft. maximum retail footage, has been a useful policy in the past, but it’s past its service life and the community is already making a significant amount of their buying decisions at larger stores in neighbouring communities,” he added. “It’s something that perhaps Central Saanich has outgrown.”
Councillors Adam Olsen and Zeb King voted opposed.
“I suggested that there are some more planning implications that need to be addressed with this,” Olsen said.
That’s expected back before council in about a month, meanwhile Central Saanich will continue to work on the Keating business case.
“It’s not intended to be the be all and end all of economic development in any way. It’s one piece of perhaps a larger strategy,” Bryson said.
The district is planning a focus meeting in early May to discuss economic development ideas for particularly the Keating business area. The ministry has expressed a desire to see a business case for improved access from Highway 17 to Keating X Road, Bryson said.
“What it will do is bring parties together in a conversation, out of which there may be the expressed desire on the part of the business folks to take this on, and take the ball,” he added.
“We would like them to work with us to develop that business case.”
The bylaws must come back before council for final approval.