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Anything that replaces the old Cumberland Hotel will be different from the old landmark.

Now it turns out that the new building will be a little different than the council had thought, at least according to the existing heritage alteration permit.

In the last half of 2021, the council had reviewed developers’ plans to replace the old hotel with a four-storey mixed-use building, which includes apartments.

Since then a number of issues have arisen such as the setback allowance especially for the BC Hydro power lines and their distance from the building. The zoning maximum is one meter, but the developer requires three meters.

“They need a little more space, so they want to set the building back further,” lead planner Karin Albert told council at their Aug. 8 meeting.

This is far from the only change from previous plans, as there are a few more units per floor on offer. In all, this means 23 units instead of 15.

“They also redesigned the building to add a few more units to make it more viable,” she said.

A new firm of architects is brought in to help meet the requirements of the project and propose changes such as different exterior cladding, landscaping changes and the addition of windows to the side of the building.

“It actually puts a friendlier face to the lane,” Albert said.

A big change is the parking space offered. The plan now calls for a 22-space underground car park, instead of the semi-automatic 14-space multi-parking system.

A previous design for the building also had a controversial pitched roof for a mechanical building. Council members were concerned about the overall mass of the building.

“It has been eliminated. There’s a little less up top,” Albert said.

The window material offered is black vinyl instead of aluminum, which is not within the guidelines, but permitted on higher floors where it is less visible.

During the discussion, the board raised many questions about the new plans.

“I have serious concerns about parking,” the councilor said. Jesse Keter.

She wondered what happened with the proposed car lift for parking and also suggested that they could use a geotechnical report to take into account factors such as bedrock.

Com. Vickey Brown had a different opinion, saying she liked the underground car park. She did, however, have questions about backhand changes. She also wonders if they should refer it to the Planning Advisory Board because of the significance of the proposed changes.

Albert did not recommend the APC dismissal, adding that they could face the setback through a spread. She also said the developer is allowed to add additional units and the building’s cantilever is designed to match those of adjacent buildings.

Then there is the question of the name of the new building, as the developers had to consider suggestions for another name.

“It always says ‘the eddie’,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “I thought they were going to change their name.”

Albert responded by saying that the matter will be raised before the heritage committee. There is also a commemoration plan to honor the history of the site.

“One of the discussions was naming,” she said. “We haven’t seen the final plan yet… We can get more clarity.”

The staff recommendation is to forward the latest plans to the heritage committee. Council supported a hoist motion, but also wants more geotechnical information regarding the proposed new parking spaces.


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Cumberland Development