What’s Coming to New West Council on February 22, 2021

New Westminster City Council is having a Special Regular Meeting followed by a Public Hearing on February 22, 2021, and here’s what’ll be happening.

Financial Plan, 2021 – 2025

The financial plan was discussed by Council at the February 8, 2021 meeting so I won’t revisit the details. In a split vote Council approved moving to third hearing and approval, which will be happening on the 22nd.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Secondary Suite Requirements) No. 8154, 2021

In a nutshell, the city wants to make it easier for people to put legal secondary suites into their residences. Council has received no correspondence on this issue, and it’s likely to just breeze right through.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (1135 Tanaka Court) No. 8250, 2021

A company wants to open up a manufacturing facility for “cannabis infused product” in Queensborough. There wouldn’t be any cultivation on-site, and they wouldn’t be doing sales through this location either. The only correspondence Council has received has been from the applicant, so this will breeze through as well.

Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw (404 Second Street) No. 8235, 2020 and Heritage Designation Bylaw (404 Second Street) No. 8236, 2020

These two bylaws are combined because they both cover the same property, 404 Second Street. It’s currently the location of Queens Park Meat & Deli and a residential unit, and they want to do a little bit of expansion in exchange for heritage designation.

The main sticking point with a small number of people is that the land use will be relaxed, opening it up to a slightly larger scope of commercial uses: businesses and professional offices, cafés and restaurants, personal service establishments (with some exclusions) and retail stores.

There is widespread support for the Queens Park Meat & Deli and the proposed changes, so it is unlikely that these specific bylaws would be voted down by Council. What could happen is that Council could ask city staff to restrict the land use to a very narrow scope of businesses.

I think that this would be a mistake, and I’ve written to Council saying so, and I’ll likely be speaking at the Public Hearing asking Council to keep the proposed land use as it is outlined in the proposal. I think that people like this type of business and that restricting its future to only being a butcher would not allow any business to pivot and adapt for changing business conditions (like, say, a global pandemic) and would cause the building to remain empty should the Queens Park Meat & Deli ever move on, which nobody wants to see.