An application was received recently and denied by the Bonnyville Town Council for a proposed Indoor storage facility at the vacant Southview motel located at 5401 5Oth Ave.
On Tuesday, April 27, elected officials turned down the application for the conditional purchase of the property.
The application was proposing to convert the vacant motel units into small storage units and have an office with a surveillance suite on-site (using the existing area that was the manager’s suite for the motel). The developer was proposing to install security fencing along the front of the property in line with the southernmost portion of the structure so that the storage area is secured from public access. The developer noted that the existing green area on the property would be maintained.
Tristan Bowers is the Managing Supervisor/ Owner of Bev’s – The Commercial Janitorial Company Ltd. who was looking to develop the property.
“My goal is to work with the existing structure of the building, ensure that is is given a much needed facelift, and complete a minor renovation to the already well appointed surveillance suite that was used as the manager’s unit and office,” Bowers told council in the proposal letter. “I would convert (via removal and additions of interior walls) the remaining motel rooms into self storage units-complete with a secure and attractive fence that would stretch the entire front of the property from the west side of the structure to the east.”
Bowers says the proposed development would not obstruct sight on the abutting roadways. In the conversion of these motel rooms into storage, Bowers envisioned dividing many of the rooms into two, with access to each via appealing steel roll top doors, uniform in colour and in place of existing main doors and windows.
“These rooms will undergo a full removal of their interior finishing’s and plumbing to make for an open, safe and secure unit for self storage,” Bowers said. “Though much of the finer details with rely on the proper inspections and clearances from a builder/ engineer, I believe this space suitable for such use. I understand that there may be concerns with a storage facility on Main Street, but I am confident that the characteristics and location of this property are well suited to ensure that such a facility is both tasteful.”
Mayor Gene Sobolewski says the Council was essentially looking at the foreman character of the proposed business and whether or not that location was appropriate with the downtown revitalization plan.
“We’re looking in terms for the future,” Mayor Sobolewski said. “You know the corridor is very business-friendly but this is a highway commercial type business. It was viewed as not being quite conducive to that location.”
The proposal was also referred to the Downtown Redevelopment Advisory Committee members for review. They were encouraged to see the prospect of a new business venture in the Town of Bonnyville. Based on their review of the proposed application, the consensus of the members was not in favour of this location for a storage facility as it is the gateway to the downtown and wouldn’t convey the appropriate image for downtown nor suit the vision for downtown development.
They also recommend that the regional economic development office be used as a source for finding an appropriate location for the business within the Town.
Therefore the application itself was refused by Council. Adjacent landowner notifications were sent out. One letter of objection was received from an owner of four adjacent properties along 50 Avenue. But the idea is not dead in the water. The Mayor says elected officials will work with Bowers to find another location for the storage facility.
“We also made a commitment to work with the proponent, to try and find another suitable location. Elsewhere in the community, something that might be a little more conducive to that type of a commercial business,” Mayor Sobolewski said.