Terrace’s Co-op future debated

Plans are underway for Terrace's Co-op property as members of a new task force in Terrace have started meeting to plan its fate.

  • Apr. 10, 2012 7:00 p.m.

WHAT WAS once the Terrace Co-op shopping centre complex on Greig Ave. is now a large field of dirt.

And as members of a task force charged with the fate of the property have learned, that field consists of different lots and is zoned for different uses.

The eight-member task force is to report back to city council  in roughly one year with recommendations for the entire location which was purchased by the City in late 2005 for $1 million.

The east side of the property across from the Best Western is zoned C-7, downtown tourism zone, with possible uses including a cultural facility, hotel with retail, museum, office, restaurant or town square.

That zone touches two different lots.

The southwest corner, close to Staples, is zoned C1-A, considered suitable for  higher density commercial and residential development. It applies to one lot.

Zone C1-Core Commercial, located on the northwest side of the property facing Greig Ave. can offer a full range of commercial goods and services, administrative and financial offices and medical services. That zone applies to two lots.

Zoning can be changed if it’s warranted, explained city development services director Marvin Kwiatkowski to task force members when they met for an inaugural session March 9.

The group already knows that two of the three parcels are some time away yet from being developed.

That’s because the city is still working to get parts of the whole  property a provincial thumbs up for being environmentally sound.

The area on the corner of Greig and Kalum drew particular attention because it once contained a gas bar.

The city began work to clear contamination there in 2005. But that  process took much longer than expected, explained Kwiatkowski.

At the time, it was thought land contaminated by the gas bar would be clean within six months.

But after initial work, plans sat until 2010 when council decided that piece of land on which the gasbar once sat could be subdivided off to allow for development of the rest.

Testing then resumed in 2011, and while manganese levels too high for drinking wells were revealed, that wasn’t of particular concern and things were looking good, according to Kwiatkowski.

But that outlook changed during demolition of the main Terrace Co-op shopping centre.

An old oil tank was discovered. Contaminated soil, which bordered two lots,  was removed but more work is needed.

What will likely happen, said Kwiatkowski, is that the three main parcels will become six — making three that can be developed sooner and three requiring more testing before receiving a green light.

That process will take one year or more though, Kwiatkowski said.

Further testing of the affected parcels is on hold because the city doesn’t have the money to do the work, he said.

The city is waiting to apply for provincial grant money to pay for the work and in the meantime, the task force is making plans.

“I’m pleased that finally action is being taken on the property,” said city councillor and task force member James Cordeiro. “And I’m guardedly optimistic that the committee will be able to bring forward a viable recommendation to council within its time frame.”

The task force’s eight voting members are Cordeiro and fellow city councillor Brian Downie, Sasa Loggin of Skeena Diversity, Bob Park of the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area Society, and members-at-large Bert Husband, Neal Lindseth, Wanita Simpson and Norm Frank.

City administrative assistant Alisa Thompson and  Kwiatkowski also attend meetings.