At its regular meeting April 23, Terrace City Council was asked to approve the development permit for the new medical clinic on Lazelle Ave., a vote tied hand-in-hand with the development of off-street parking in the adjacent lot.
The proposal will see the conversion of the existing Terrace Interiors Ltd. into the H.G. Health Centre.
“The big challenge with this site for the new medical clinic was that it did not come with any parking,” said Tara Irwin, city planner.
In comparison, the new Spruce Medical Centre on the 4600 Block of Lazelle Avenue came with eight dedicated parking spaces. Interior renovations have already begun in preparation for its June 1 opening.
But with no parking spaces given to the H.G. Health Centre, Irwin said the eight-space requirement did come as a surprise for the developers.
The city recommended a variance of six parking spaces instead, simply because the required eight spaces wouldn’t fit inside the adjacent vacant lot on 4612 Lazelle Ave.
“But it’s that tension,” she said. “We know we need a new medical clinic and we looked at the options… unless there was a surface parking area nearby, but there’s nothing like that available.”
Council acknowledged the solution is far from ideal. Clients and staff would enter into the narrow parking area from the back lane and into angle parking. To exit, drivers will need to back out the same way.
The parking configuration was designed to create adequate site lines, and the low-traffic volume of the north lane would make for easier access and exit opportunities, however, Irwin does recognize there are some challenges with the application.
“It’s not the most comfortable movement,” she said. “You have to back out very slowly.”
Vehicle access off of Lazelle Avenue was considered, but the placement of a fire hydrant and tree on the street presented a challenge and would require significant cost and time to remove.
Irwin said it was explained to her that at any one time, there would likely only be three of the 10 rooms in use with two to three administrative staff on hand, so the number of parking spaces developed would work at first.
“The great thing about Lazelle is there will be the clearly marked two-hour parking, and it’s not in a highly busy area so for someone coming in for a half-hour appointment, the on-street parking will probably suffice,” she said.
“This is why some degree of parking is required, but six spaces was the maximum.”
In order to get renovations around a new medical clinic up and running, council decided to approve the permit with the knowledge that parking could be amended in the future.
Renovations will start soon when Terrace Interiors officially closes on May 10, leaving the building vacant and ready for development. The clinic is scheduled to open by late summer.
The 10-room medical clinic will have two standard washrooms and one wheelchair accessible. The facility will also feature meeting and consultation rooms. A second, wheelchair accessible entrance will be installed at the back for both staff and clients.