Penticton council is considering expanding its economic investment zones to foster future revitalization.
Business arising from the city’s development services advisory committee recommended council include the area surrounding Canadian Tire and the Canwood site in the city’s economic investment zone.
According to committee minutes, members approved supporting the area, which included “some larger parcels of land that would involve a comprehensive development benefitting the city.”
The zones provide incentives in the form of tax or permit fee relief for specific parts of town, enticing new projects in areas deemed by the city as desirous of change.
Coun. Andrew Jakubeit questioned why the expansion was coming now, as a developer would have to apply for building permits or business licences before moving in anyway.
“Why hasn’t a proposal come forward on this? Isn’t this putting the cart before the horse?” Jakubeit said.
“There’s a time and place for everything,” Mayor Dan Ashton replied.
The mayor noted at the end of the meeting that there had been an expression of interest in the area around Canadian Tire and Canwood.
Ashton, however, said he was not able to divulge who the individual was that offered the expression of interest or what the nature of the business was.
Anthony Haddad, Penticton’s development services director, said a review of the economic investment zone program was due.
Expanding one of the zones now, he said, could become part of a larger systemic review of the program, which was in its infancy of attracting more business and job-creation opportunities to the area.
“This is not the only potential zone,” he said. “There’s lots of new opportunities.”
The development services advisory committee recommendation was approved by council, with Jakubeit the lone opponent.