Kamloops council voted in favour of rezoning application for Tournament Inn property

Council OKs inn rezoning

After a public hearing which saw some residents raise concerns around a lack of transportation upgrades, Kamloops council gave its stamp of approval to a rezoning application which would allow a future mixed-use development to rise on a Valleyview property.

The rezoning application for 1893 Trans-Canada Hwy., which is currently home to the Tournament Inn, was discussed on Tuesday, May 14.

Eric Beach, current planning manager for the City of Kamloops, said the applicants wish to revitalize the property by removing the Tournament Inn and building a future mixed use development.

“They have indicated that they're looking to build a 80-room hotel and a 60-unit multi-family residential building,” Beach said.

He said the proposed project will need to come back to council to receive a development permit, but as far as rezoning is concerned, it meets the policies of the city’s official community plan.

“It is in a commercial area where we do want to see an increase in density. We're also looking to be adding the future Valleyview transit exchange into the area which will increase transit capabilities for any future residents of this property,” Beach said.

Some Valleyview residents attending the public hearing said they would like to see the property cleaned up and redeveloped, but held concerns about the impact development might have on the neighbourhood’s transportation network.

One resident said she had lived in Valleyview for decades and has watched it grow, but hasn’t seen any significant improvements to the road networks, sidewalks or crosswalks.

She said she used to be able to walk everywhere, but the increased traffic and growth has resulted in Valleyview becoming less friendly for pedestrians.

“We still have the same basic road networks that we've had for 45 years. We still have the same little poorly marked crosswalk across Oriole, it's been there for as long as I can remember,” she said.

“We have a few more sidewalks, but they're piecemeal, and many of them don't go anywhere. Vicars Road is a gong show — it’s the province’s gong show, but additional development is going to make it worse and a bigger problem for the city's residents who are forced to use that intersection.”

Another resident agreed sidewalks and other improvements were needed, but noted developers must often add this type of infrastructure while constructing a new build.

“When projects like this happen, it's good for all of Valleyview because we get improvements — and it's not necessarily everything's coming out of the taxpayers pocket, the developer itself is having to fund these improvements,” he said.

Beech said the city’s transportation master plan shows a sidewalk planned along the frontage road.

“As development unfolds, we are getting those improvements, that developer is having to put the sidewalks in. Our transportation group is aware of the issues and it is in their master plan,” he said.

“There is no set timeline though, when that sidewalk would go in, but as redevelopment unfolds you will get sections of sidewalk built.”

He said the future transit exchange is planned for Oriole Road and Falcon Road.

Coun. Nancy Bepple agreed the walkability and cycling infrastructure in the area is “extremely poor,” but said she would support the rezoning application.

“I think that the way that you get improvements is by building new complexes. Nothing's going to change if we just leave it the way it is, so I think it's a great improvement for the area,” Bepple said.

Council voted 8-0 to approve the rezoning application. Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson was not present for the Tuesday public hearing.

More Kamloops News