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Feedback minimal on Castlegar mini-storage proposal

Castlegar city council didn’t get a lot of feedback on a local hotel’s plans to convert an unused banquet room into a mini-storage facility.

At a public hearing this week into the SureStay Hotel’s application for rezoning, council only heard from three members of the public: one in favour and two opposed. Additionally, it received one letter of opposition.

The plan calls for a 300-square meter facility, accessed through the rear of the building, which would have 48 units, ranging in size. There would be 31 small units, three medium-size ones, and 14 large ones.

If approved, the facility would require fire protection upgrades and be restricted to 7.5 per cent of the gross floor area of the building.

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Speaking for the applicants, Hayden Butler, the son of the property owners, said the units would be intended for household goods and clothes, but not hazardous materials or tires. He said they might appeal to Selkirk College students who live in tight spaces and need more room for storage.

The banquet room has not been used in years and Butler said it requires significant upgrades.

Mayor Maria McFaddin asked if they had looked at other uses for the space. Butler replied that they did, but they are limited by a few things. The Grand Buddha restaurant now leases access to the washrooms, leaving the banquet hall without washrooms of its own. Nor is the kitchen accessible anymore as a result of the lease. He said it would be costly to add new plumbing.

Butler said a number of people have inquired about renting the space, which dates to the hotel’s construction in 1978, but been stymied by both its size and the upgrades required.

“I agree it’s not the most visually appealing, but it’s difficult to find someone to give it some love,” he said, adding they “don’t want to have a big vacant space.”

Resident Brian Rush said he had sympathy for the owners trying to do something with underused space, “but it does seem like the least thoughtful, least well-considered option to simply turn unused space into a storage facility.”

However, Shemmaho Goodenough, who lives in a trailer court nearby with limited storage, said she supported the idea.

“I think it would be fabulous and I’d be willing to rent a little unit there,” she said. “I think there would be a lot of people who would appreciate something like that.”

A decision on whether to grant the rezoning will likely be made on June 5.

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