Another Timmies and gas bar coming to town

Penticton city council gives thumbs-up to development planned for the corner of Warren Avenue and Main Street

Council gave the go-ahead this week to a developer planning to bring a fourth Tim Hortons to Penticton.

Along with that, Vancouver-based developer Windridge Properties plans to build a convenience store and Federated Co-op gas bar on the northwest corner of Main Street and Warren Avenue, which has been empty for five years, since Lee’s Fusion Kitchen burnt to the ground in June 2009.

It fronts on commercial areas, but backs on to a residential neighbourhood, who strongly protested the plans when it came to a public hearing in May. Responding to their concerns, council withheld rezoning the land from mixed use commercial to service station until the developer satisfied the concerns

“The adoption of the bylaw was contingent on two conditions, the first being that traffic calming measures along Roy Avenue be designed and that a covenant be placed on the title that once the gas station use was no longer in operation that the site be remediated before any other use,” said planning manager Blake Laven.

One of the exits, according to the list of neighbourhood concerns, was lined up directly with Roy Avenue, which they felt would encourage traffic through that area.

Concerns were also raised about buffering between the commercial use and the residential neighbourhood beside it to cut down on noise and lighting spillover from both headlights and the businesses’ lighting.

The revised plan shows the Roy Avenue access point moved closer to and angled towards Warren Avenue so that traffic leaving will be pointed towards Warren, which is a collector road.

The revised landscape plan also shows higher fencing with denser landscaping and the cedar fence in the original design is being replaced with concrete.

“That is going to help with sound as well as light and any exhaust,” said Laven.

The developer has also agreed to a rehabilitation covenant on the property title, though Coun. Helen Konanz was concerned it didn’t specify how soon after the gas station ceased operation that rehab would have to take place.

“There have been a lot of properties in town that no one is worried about having any other use with, and it sits there,” said Konanz. “They might just leave it abandoned, like some have before.”

Laven said it was not possible to add a time limit.

“The covenant, the way it is written was as strong as we could make it under the legislation,” said Laven.

Coun. John Vassilaki said concerns about the covenant is misplaced, since Windridge will be leasing to Federated Gas, rather than selling the property to them.

“The people that are putting this project together, they are not oil people, they are investors. They invest in property and for them to leave it unclean … it is not in their best interests,” said Vassilaki. “I am sure they can’t afford to keep it dormant like that forever.”