A proposal to build a small commercial hub including a fourth gas station in Silverdale has been delayed until council reviews a hydrology report on the site.
Most people who spoke against the project at a public hearing Monday night were concerned the area’s water supply will be affected.
A woman who lives nearby said her property is less than 150 feet from where the gas station will be placed and her water supply would be “severely compromised” if a gas tank ever leaked.
“On our property there is an artesian that’s only three feet deep, but it supplies water at an unbelievable rate.”
Several other speakers agreed water supply is an issue in the area. There are already problems during dry summers when there isn’t a lot of rain, said Bob McKamey. “We have some wells go dry on a regular basis.”
Dave Neil, hydrologist for the applicant, told council the existing well on the property is about 81 feet deep and capable of producing 50 gallons per minute. However, the well is old and suggested a new one would be drilled to meet current operating codes.
“If surrounding property owners give us permission, we will monitor their wells to identify any impact,” offered Neil.
Robert Demers was disappointed other landowners near the Lougheed Highway and St. Anthony’s Way intersection were not consulted to develop a comprehensive plan for the area.
John McClure noted the intersection is a gateway to Mission. He and his partners own eight acres on the north side of the highway and have been trying to develop their land for more than 20 years. He said he has brought several proposals to the table, but district staff did not endorse any of them because such a development is contrary to the Official Community Plan.
Residents who supported the development said they welcome more business to the area.
Ivy McLeod said four service stations may seem like a lot for the area, which already has three within 600 metres, but it is the other proposed businesses she likes.
“I’d like to see a place where we can buy fresh fruits and vegetables without leaving town,” she said.
Richard McWhinney, whose two adult children owned the two subject properties until recently, said the properties are not appropriate for residential use because of the highway noise. McWhinney, who has lived on both properties, also noted the houses on the sites are old and need to be replaced.
McWhinney explained when his family bought the property about 10 years ago, he had envisioned a commercial and residential development.
Silverdale is a popular area to fuel up vehicles, said Gary Langley, noting line-ups at the three existing gas stations are not uncommon.
OTG Development Concepts owner Ryan Anderson explained the development is a family project. The property is designated for development in the district’s employment land strategy and the biggest reason a gas station is being proposed is because market research indicates it would be highly successful, he said.
Nirvair Singh, whose family is behind the project proposal, noted the gas station would be the anchor tenant for the development, and other retail business ideas are welcome.
“This development is for the neighbourhood,” said Singh, adding there will be a children’s play area and suggested a pharmacy might be a good fit. “We invite others to join us.”