Thursday, January 25, 2024

Parking concerns don't hold back council process for new downtown housing variance requests

Plans for the redevelopment of the property at the corner of Second Ave West
and Seventh Street in Downtown Prince Rupert moved forward on Monday night

While a few of the council members continue to raise concerns about allocating parking spaces for proposed housing plans, Monday night brought no delays for a downtown project seeking a variance request for plans for the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue West.

The item came up as part of the Application for Variances for property at 800 Second Avenue West, which would see the current location repurposed into Multi family dwellings and traveller accommodation the focus for the variances noted below:

1. A request for a variance of the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Bylaw, Section 6.1.0, minimum dimensions required for yards to 0 m to allow the redevelopment of the existing building with the intent by the applicant to have multifamily dwellings and traveller accommodations. 

2. A request for a variance of the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Bylaw Section 9.1.2 Parking Requirements to allow the building to operate with the existing four parking spaces.

As part of the discussion to the topic, the second request, that of the parking variance generated the most interest from the Council members. 

Councillor  Wade Niesh noted of recent changes to provincial legislation on such things as rental properties  

"The only discussion is according to the plans they wanted to have four travellers accommodations and you know with the discussion that has been had about the province's new rules in play for Air B n B's and that . Is the travellers accommodations still applicable to this project with the new rules.

Or, would they have to change this to ten units, instead of six units plus four travellers accommodations."

City Planner Rodolfo Harris provided some background on the most recent discussion that the city has had with the property developer.

"The applicant has been communicated that that is the case with the provincial legislation and how that is changing, so they would have to change their plans internally accordingly. That said these variances hey have wanted to move ahead to allow for those ten parking spots to be permitted in the current situation"

From that overview, Councillor Niesh noted of how that change might impact on the development plans.

"The only thing is where it changes is all of a sudden now you have ten, say ten units to live in.  

Well, now you have you know less parking spots for people that could potentially be living there. 

I mean I understand that this person is looking to build something that maybe would require less people you know driving to their home and living downtown, you know and I would love to see more housing and I would love to see the building fixed up, so you know I am in support of it.

It's just that you know if a travellers accommodation is for the units and somebody comes to stay for a nigh here and a night there but now this isn't allowed because of provincial rules.  

Which means you're going to end up with four units of living space, which means you're going to have four more potential parking spots missing for people that are there long term which is what I'm trying to get at here.

So, I mean that being said, I mean you know I think any housing development in downtown is going to be more geared towards you know less parking so you know I am in support of it, it's just something that we need to take into consideration" 

Some images of the proposed development and parking areas related to it

Councillor Barry Cunningham offered up some observations of the downtown location and  noted how this was the second variance request that Council was looking to move forward related to parking.

"This is the second housing project where we've been asked to waive parking regulations and they're going to be asked to park on the street.  And the downtown core, this particular area isn't too bad, it's not going to be affected that much.

But right now, that one street already you've got the Moose Hall, you've got the Highliner and that so you know it's already got a lot of parking there.

So I'm a hundred percent in the project, but I'm just getting worried that we keep saying OK well a variance for the parking, a variance for the parking and it's sooner or later it's going to bite us on the butt" 

The first of the parking variances that the Councillor noted of was those related to the Drake Crescent development, we explored those notes earlier this month.

Following their overview, council moved the process forward to Statutory Notification.

We outlined the scope of the project under review as part of our Council previews of Monday, more details towards the housing plans can be found from the Council Agenda package starting on page 36.

The discussion towards the variance requests can be reviewed through the City's Video archive starting at the one hour nine minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council session are available here.

Items of interest on Housing in Prince Rupert can be explored here.


  1. It's fine to let the developments get away short on parking. Sooner or later, it will catch up with the city then what's the plan? Many areas in the core are parked up the entire day with no traffic turn-over.

    1. This is Prince Rupert. We don’t plan, we pray for grants.