Skip to content

Castlegar council approves industrial park zoning change

The change makes way for a light industrial park at 4605 Columbia Ave. in south Castlegar
Zoning change makes way for a light industrial park at 4605 Columbia Ave. in south Castlegar. Image: City of Castlegar

Castlegar City Council has approved a zoning change to make way for a light industrial park at 4605 Columbia Ave. in south Castlegar.

In late 2022, Kind Industries Ltd. requested that the 18-acre property across from The Brick and Ernie’s Used Auto Parts be rezoned from rural residential to industrial park. In addition, they asked that an indoor micro-cannabis production facility be permitted on the northern 12 acres of the property.

The property has been designated as light industrial for more than 30 years in the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP), but the zoning had never been brought into alignment with the plan.

The cannabis facility was removed from the proposal after the developer received negative feedback from local residents at a December meeting.

The developers also removed several other uses that would otherwise be permitted in the requested industrial zoning designation including auto and truck repair shops, gas stations, fuel depots and recycling depots.

“I have never seen a developer or their agent be as amenable to what the citizens of the community wanted,” said Councillor Cherryl MacLeod when voicing her plan to vote in favour of the proposal.

At a July 17 public hearing regarding the zoning change, city planner Shannon Marshall reported that Castlegar’s current industrial sites are full and that the city has received a significant number of inquiries over the last few years from people looking for industrial properties.

READ MORE: Whitewater Ski Resort offering free accommodation for wildfire evacuees

Councillors Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff and Brian Bogle also were in favour of the proposal.

Councillors Shirley Fahlstead, Darcy Bell and Sandy Bojechko were against the proposal, primarily due to the impact the park would have on Blueberry residents who have an expectation of a more rural lifestyle.

That left the determining vote to Mayor Maria McFaddin.

“Really, what my decision comes down to is that as a council we have guiding documents that we are supposed to make our our decisions based on, and our OCP is one of those,” said McFaddin.

“If I am going to make a decision against what the OCP says, I have to have a very large reason to justify going against it.”

McFaddin further spoke to the the longstanding OCP designation of the property.

“That means when we went out for consultation for the last two OCPs the city has done, the whole community has said, ‘Yes — this is where want light industrial.’”

McFaddin also brought up that the city still has a lot of control over what happens at the property through the city’s development permit process including addressing traffic concerns and ensuring there is a vegetative buffer zone between the development and nearby residences.

McFaddin said that when she looks through a whole-community lens, the impacts of the development are reasonable.

“Any progress in a town is going to have negative impact somewhere.”

Approval of the zoning change is only the first step in a long process before anything is actually built at the site.

Additional steps include meeting development regulations for infrastructure including required improvements to Dube Road and acquiring a development permit that encompasses the form and character of the project including architecture, landscaping, property access and parking plans. Environmental assessments may also be required.

READ MORE: Eby condemns ‘disaster tourism’, equipment tampering as B.C. wildfires burn

follow us on Twitter

Sign up for the Castlegar News newsletter here to have local stories delivered straight to your inbox.

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
Read more