Local businesses to open in Revelstoke’s Mackenzie Village
The three buildings lining Nichol Rd.— the latest in the Mackenzie Village development—will soon have local businesses moving in and opening up shop.
“We’re very proud that 90 per cent of the people are local, who a lot of them couldn’t get businesses downtown,” said Shelly Evans, one of the development owners along with her partner, David Evans.
Joanne Gawler is opening up a for-profit childcare centre, and the Evans are in talks with The Alchemy Studio to expand into Mackenzie Village.
There will be a decor store, a Little Spoon coffee shop, a co-working space, a gym, and an art gallery.
The Evans are in talks with a wood-fired pizza and pasta restaurant, which isn’t local. Shelley Evans said they’re not far along enough to announce the name. They are also working with a non-local, but independent grocery store, as well as a liquor co-operative from Armstrong.
Stark Architect, the Mackenzie Village firm, will also have a showroom and office in the commercial space.
Of the 19 units, Evans said 16 are spoken for, with some leases signed.
“But we’re in no hurry,” she said. “We’re just seeing what’s out there and just want to create great community.”
Stoke FM spoke with Evans outside of city council chambers on Nov. 14 after a three hour public hearing and amendment decision by council.
In May the Evans requested amendments to the zoning that applies to the Mackenzie Village land. The land comprises of six sub-zones. Three of which have been developed. They wanted maximum setback requirements to be eliminated from every sub-zone. Council granted this.
They also wanted the option to expand commercial units beyond the maximum floor space of 200 square metres, up to 450 square metres.
In a report to council, city staff noted that the commercial units are already constructed, and of the 19 it would only be possible to expand five of them, by combining units.
Evans said that currently, none of the business owners know if they want to expand, but they want the option.
For example, the grocery stores and restaurants may want to utilize two units. And Gawler said in an address to council at the hearing that she’s already eying the unit next door to expand her child care centre.
The public comment period for this amendment request was from Oct. 10 to Nov. 14. 90 people sent letters to council, the majority of them living in Mackenzie Village and in support of the Evans’ request.
Steve Cross, a former councillor who approved the original zoning for Mackenzie Village, and a downtown business owner, wrote several times opposing the amendment request. He also addressed council three times during the public hearing.
He, along with former mayor Mark Mckee—who was mayor when the original zoning bylaw was passed, is a business owner, and also addressed council at the public hearing—said that allowing 450 square metres of commercial space in Mackenzie Village would create predatory competition against downtown businesses.
Pat Mckee and Steve Hui also spoke up against the requested zoning change. The business owners spoke of the fact that 450 metres squared is more space than any downtown business has. They were worried that allowing this flexibility would open a Pandora’s box that council wouldn’t be able to control down the road.
After the hearing, Evans said this was “fear mongering.” She said that restaurants, grocery stores, the child care centre and the architectural showroom would go into the potentially expanded units, not retail shops.
In an attempt to mitigate predatory competition, council amended the original request so that only four businesses would be allowed to expand beyond 200 square metres.
This passed unanimously.
The buildings in question with commercial units, are the only three that are zoned for commercial development. The remaining buildings are slated for apartments and short term rental units only.