Uncle Weiner's Wholesale/Mega Savers Outlet wants to locate to the Rural Municipality of Wallace in the building formerly in use as Castle Building Centre.
But Yorkton City Administration was suggesting caution in Yorkton Council giving their approval at their regular meeting Monday.
The property in question is adjacent to the City’s easterly corporate boundary and also adjacent to City-owned lands that lie within the RM of Wallace, explained Michael Eger – Director of Planning, Building & Development with the City.
The subject lands are designated for Commercial land use in the District Plan, and zoned High Profile Commercial/Light Industrial (HPC) in the RM’s Zoning Bylaw.
In order to accommodate the application, the RM is considering a text amendment to their zoning bylaw which would make a Salvage Yard/Machine wrecker a Discretionary Use in that zone.
Under Planning and Development Act, 2007, the RM was required to issue public notice to adjacent landowners. The City received formal notice of the application and the RM’s intent to consider at a Public Hearing, to be held on Feb. 12, noted Eger.
Eger said based on what is known about Uncle Wieners Wholesale, there should be no issues accommodating the use on the subject lands.
"However, the proposed Salvage Yard/Machine Wrecker poses issues related to incompatibility with the prescribed land use in the District Plan, potential for environmental impact, and visual blight along a City gateway," he added. ". . . With respect to environmental impact, the biggestconcern relates to potential contamination of surface and ground water from wrecked vehicles and machinery. The lands are identified as having extremely high aquifer vulnerability. . . and the Citysources drinking water from a nearby aquifer. In addition, this area drains intoYorkton Creek, and effluents from this site could impact its water quality."
Eger said there needs to be some level of assurance the business would be safe in terms of the aquifer.
"There are a number of policies in the District Plan that support environmental protection, and if changes to the District Plan were to be proposed that would allow for a heavy industrial use at this site, any application would need to include an Environmental Impact Assessment prepared by a qualified engineering professional," he said.
A wrecker isn't exactly an inviting image when arriving in a city either, said Eger.
"Finally, the possibility of a having a new salvage yard/machine wrecker along a highway and gateway to the City would be undesirable," he said.
"The City’s Official Community Plan states that these high traffic areas have the potential to positively or negatively represent the City as a whole.
"When developing these areas, we want to enhance their appearance to create a positive, lasting impression."
There is also potential financial risk for the City, suggested Eger.
"There is no immediate or direct cost to the City. However, risk of environmental contamination could create future costs to the City," he said. ". . . In a worst-case scenario whereby the adjacent City lands, underlying aquifer and City drinking water become contaminated, the City could incur very significant costs for remediation, legal fees, and potential liability."
The RM of Wallace, RM of Orkney, York Lake Regional Park Authority and City of Yorkton, are members of the Yorkton Regional Planning District. Pursuant to the Planning District Agreement, land use matters within the Joint Management Area (along the rural/urban fringe) are to be considered by the Yorkton Regional Planning District Commission.
The Commission met online Feb. 3 regarding the development.
That the Commission is in favour, in principle, with a Salvage Yard/Machine Wrecker being established in the R.M. of Wallace No. 243 within Parcels A and B, Plan 77Y02470, with the condition that there is a commitment to provide further information as follows:
*With respect to the serious concern for risk to environmental and groundwater contamination, that the Developer provide an environmental study being completed by a qualified engineer;
*With respect to the visual appearance from the adjacent Highway and from neighbouring properties, that the Developer provide a more detailed site plan which includes provisions for beautification and screening;
And furthermore, that once the R.M. of Wallace No. 243 receives such information, that it be forwarded to the Commission for further consideration.
While concerns were raised Eger did add "the applicant, also in attendance, expressed willingness to undertake necessary measures to prevent contamination. This includes only processing machinery which has been evacuated of all fluids, and further safeguards such as the installation of a fluid containment station. He also clarified that this site would be used as a transfer station, with storage of unsold goods to be undertaken at their North Battleford location."
Council took considerable time debating the development seeking to be supportive of new business on one hand and to ensure a safe aquifer and good look coming into the city on the other.
"We as the City of Yorkton are very pro business," assured Mayor Mitch Hippsley, but he added "we have to protect our water."
While Administration recommended denying the request, Council was looking to approve if assurances of safety and unsightliness could be made.
And then Councillor Chris Wyatt asked who would monitor and plan to assure safe water, who would pay if there was a problem, and what was the dispute mechanism. given the property is not in the City limits?
When the answers were not immediately forthcoming, Wyatt moved to table the item until the April 26 meeting of Council allowing time for more information to be gathered. With a tabling motion in place further debate was not allowed.