Council takes bold direction rezoning old Safeway block

Rezoning sign went up while the old building is coming down Friday in preparation for long-awaited DT Chilliwack redevelopment.

Council approved rezoning of the entire block

Council approved rezoning of the entire block

There is obvious activity these days on the old Safeway block at Main and Kipp.

A rezoning sign went up and the building is coming down in preparation for the long-awaited redevelopment.

But what is different is that the rezoning approval for the site this week at city hall was not applicant-driven, but rather spearheaded by city council — pre-emptively to shape the evolution of the downtown core.

It’s a deliberate effort to make the zoning dovetail with vision of the Downtown plan in the Official Community Plan, with some of the highest density compared to anywhere in Chilliwack.

Council approved rezoning of the entire block, with multiple properties going from commercial, to high-density multi-family residential, and commercial, as well as a CD 15, (comprehensive development) zoning, at the public hearing Tuesday night.

Whoever eventually buys the property will have the option of rezoning again, should they decide to, or stick to the downtown vision of increasing residential zoning with higher density R6, and commercial at the ground floor level, and residential above.

The former Safeway site has seven properties on it with a combined area of about three acres, bounded by Main Street, Kipp Avenue, Mary Street and Princess Avenue.

It is “a bit unusual” for council to take the bull by the horns in this way, Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz told The Progress this week.

“But we never had a situation like this in Chilliwack, where a key downtown property is basically abandoned the way this one was,” she said.

Sobeys Inc. purchased all of Canada Safeway’s assets in November 2013, and the Sobeys affiliated company, SDLP Snowcat Limited is the registered owner of the Chilliwack properties that make up the old Safeway site.

Many are ready to see the storefront come down, and anticipate it might be the piece that kickstarts redevelopment.

“This is exciting times for the downtown. It’s downtown’s time,” Gaetz said after the rezoning was approved by council. She also thanked Snowcat officials for being “responsive” by agreeing to demolish the old buildings, and put the property up for sale.

It’s being listed for $3.2 million.

Coun. Chuck Stam noted the old Safeway site was “a bone of contention” in the downtown for a long time.

“It’s good to see the land use question put to bed.”

The entire block has been singled out repeatedly to point out its centralized and pivotal location.

“It was identified in our plan as a potential catalyst for downtown revitalization and redevelopment, and that is what we hope to show, all the potential, as part of our future vision for Chilliwack’s downtown.

“This sets out a bold vision of the direction the city wants to go in,” added the mayor. “It sends a message to anyone interested that we are ready to move forward to build neighbourhoods.”

Coun. Jason Lum noted the increased density will make the property even more valuable and easier to market.

“It signifies energy in the downtown,” he said.

The Chilliwack Downtown Business Improvement Association came out in support because of the significant potential.

In a letter from BIA president Alvin Bartel, he wrote: “The group of properties that make up this site offer significant opportunity for commercial and residential development, and can be a catalyst for much needed revitalization in that area.

“The BIA has been in support of the City’s downtown revitalization efforts, and feel that amending the current zoning of this site into RB (High Density Multi-Family Residential) and CD-15 (Comprehensive Development-15) will help maintain that direction.”

Rezoning will also become that extra step in the process that future developers will not have to undertake in the process, Gaetz said.

Demolition of the exterior of the old Safeway building should start by Friday or early next week, and contractors have been working on the interior demolition prep, including abatement of any hazardous material found on-site. The report on what was found was not made public yet.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police lights
Chilliwack RCMP plan December campaign against impaired drivers

Police remind motorists that cannabis and prescription drugs can also affect driving ability

Kevin Davey with Heritage Village long-term care facility holds a bag open as Lucyanne Carruthers of Panago Pizza in Sardis stacks some of the 35 pizzas to be given to the seniors’ residence on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Pizzeria owner continues to bring free lunches to Chilliwack seniors in long-term care

Even during COVID, Lucyanne Carruthers of Panago has been giving pizza lunches to Heritage Village

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Downtown Chilliwack BIA executive director Kyle Williams promoting the buy local ‘Shopportunity’ program that launched mere days ago. (Screenshot)
Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association parts ways with Kyle Williams

BIA president Ruth Maccan said the association ‘will have a new look in 2021’

An anonymous person has decorated a tree and posted a sign encouraging others to do the same on the Teapot Hill Trail, and Bill Wojtun shared the idea on Facebook. (Facebook photo)
Could Cultus Lake’s Teapot Hill become Holiday Hill this Christmas?

An anonymous person is encouraging people to decorate trees on the local trail

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, representing the Sto:lo Tribal Council, is one of five signatories on an op-ed issued Dec. 4, 2020 in response to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report: In Plain Sight Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Healthcare. (Submitted)
OP-ED: Fraser Health and Indigenous leaders respond to report on racism in healthcare

‘We remain committed to real change, ending racism in our system’

Most Read