In quite a short (maybe half hour) public hearing tonight, City Council made some decisions I feel could have quite an impact on Kamloops:
- Preventing banks locating their main branch outside of downtown: A couple of years ago, the Bank of Montreal decided to move their main branch from downtown to the Summit shopping centre in Sahali. I am not sure the bank even has any presence downtown anymore. City Council has now restricted banks from opening locations above a certain square footage outside the downtown core. Council basically wants the main branch of all financial institutions to be downtown. This move was designed to protect the vibrancy and viabiliy of downtown Kamloops.
- Restricting the ability of government agencies and public utilities to locate offices in industrial areas: City planners said tonight that they have noticed that more government and utility offices are trying to locate offices in the Southgate industrial park (also in the Sahali area). If these offices need a storage component for vehicle fleets, trucks, or equipment, this will be allowed. But otherwise it will be explicitly restricted. This preserves industrial parks for industrial uses and also encourages offices in downtown and north shore business areas.
- Allowing the creation of residential suites below commercial spaces: In our main commercial areas, this allows commercial landowners to create residential below their street level commercial spaces. Residential is already allowed above commercial spaces. This could potentially create more private housing in Kamloops and allow for more housing choice in our community and more viability and vibrancy in our commercial areas.
All in all, it was an interesting meeting to watch.