By David F. Rooney
Revelstokians have nothing to fear from the proposed Trans-Canada Highway mall, says Mike Spaull, development manager for the project’s proponent, Hall Pacific.
“I think Council has a difficult decision to make,” he said in an interview on Thursday, October 1, adding that he did not think the project’s opponents were truly representative of what he characterized as “the silent majority.”
Spaull said discussions he and company president Fraser Hall had with unnamed Revelstokians earlier this year led them to believe that their $20 million project would be welcomed here.
The company is proposing to construct a mall on Steve Platt’s property just east of the Subway restaurant on the highway across from the Frontier Motel. The first tenants are supposed to be a major discount grocery store and a national-brand pharmacy. Other tenants are expected to follow. Construction is set to begin in April 2016 and end in July 2017.
However, nothing will happen if Council does not approve the zoning changes Hall Pacific is seeking. It wants the zoning amended to permit a supermarket, pharmacy, entertainment and public gathering. A hotel, which was what Platt wanted to build there in the first place, may still be erected at some point, but Hall made it clear at Tuesday’s public hearing that it’s not a top priority.
For now, though, the project’s future is in Council’s hands. Dozens of people have made it clear to Mayor McKee and Council that they oppose the project. Some fear that this project will be one more of the bland, corporate-style malls that disfigure the outskirts of cities and towns from coast-to-coast. They don’t want to see that happen here and who can blame them?
Revelstoke is a community where small business reigns supreme and while our downtown core has a number of empty storefronts it remains picturesque and, in the eyes of many, authentic.
Spaull said his company is sensitive to local fears.
“We wouldn’t come to a town like Revelstoke and try to force something down the community’s throat,” he said.
Council is expected to reach a decision by October13.
Please click here to read our story about the public hearing.