Plans are afoot to build a new 68-room hotel on Young Road near Highway 1.
Two variances were set to go before city council Tuesday night for the hotel, drive-thru and gas station proposal.
The Chilliwack property was originally rezoned in 2012, from CS1(Service Commercial) to CS2 (Tourist Commercial) to facilitate a hotel development.
The hotel proposal for property at 8100 Young Road is undergoing scrutiny for its form and character.
Development variance permits being considered include a reduction of total off-street parking from 76 to 68 stalls, to build the two-storey service station and drive-thru restaurant, and five-storey hotel, which will be visible from the freeway.
A second variance is to increase the hotel building height from 10 metres to 24 metres.
If the variances are approved by council, a development permit could subsequently come up Tuesday night as a late item to approve form and character.
Once the applicant’s development permit goes through, the next step is getting a building permit.
“From my point of view the location is good for a hotel, and will provide visitors with entertainment in the evening at the Casino,” said Allison Colthorp, executive director of Tourism Chilliwack. “I look forward to hearing more about it.”
Proximity to both the highway, and to the Chances casino, would certainly add value to the visitor experience in Chilliwack, she said.
The proposed 68-room hotel will add to the inventory of rooms in Chilliwack, which is now at 578 units, in 10 hotels.
The largest hotel in town, the Coast Chilliwack, has 110 rooms.
“Our occupancy rate has been increasing over the years, and this year has been great already,” said Colthorp.
Some local hotels in 2016 have seen spikes as high as 89 per cent occupancy, but in general there is quite a bit of fluctuation, and Chilliwack’s rate hovers just below the provincial average.
From January to May of this year, it was at 52.8 per cent, which is up 11.9 per cent over the same time frame last year.
“We’d love to see that occupancy rate go even higher. That’s our job and we’re working with hoteliers to make that happen.”
They work as a group to devise a marketing “tactical” plan every year, said Colthorp.
The city’s Design Review Advisory Committee supported and recommended the development permit application after discussions about shrubbery, fencing and parking. A traffic study was also completed for the project.