Northern News Services
City development officer John Pelletier refused the application for 34 more hotel rooms, saying the Super 8 proposal didn't leave enough room for parking and would have a "detrimental effect on the amenities of the area."
The hotel has until Sept. 2 to appeal. The refusal "shocked" local businessman David Connelly, a minority stakeholder in the hotel, who said the existing building has an average occupancy rate of 90 per cent. The addition would have cost about $2 million.
"We've fixed the truck parking issue, beautified the area beyond people's expectations, donated to sports teams. "What more can a business do to be a desired member of the community?" he said.
The Super 8 proposal called for 51 parking spots, or exactly half as many spots as guest rooms -- the requirement under the city's planning act, passed June 12, 2000.
But the first part of the hotel was approved under an old act, which required one parking space per room.
Pelletier said the old standard still applies to the old building, meaning the hotel would have to create 82 stalls.
Connelly compared that policy to applying an old fire code standard to a new building. But Pelletier said it's simply a matter of laying down the law.
"We have zoning bylaw requirements that indicate what is permitted.
"If it doesn't meet the zoning bylaw requirements, then we have to refuse it," he said, adding that the Super 8 proposal called for a larger building footprint than is allowable on the property.
Mayor Gord Van Tighem said he stands behind the development officer.
"If we said there was a housing shortage and somebody wanted to put in 100 cardboard shacks, would we be OK to authorize that because there was a housing shortage?
"Or should there be certain standards?" he asked.
But Connelly said he is confused, since the city has called for more hotel rooms, especially as it looks forward to a possible convention centre in the future.