Trinity Western University’s preliminary plan to build a new academic/residential building has received unanimous support from Township council.
On June 11, the proposal to rezone 4.38 acres of land in the 22500 block of 76A Avenue from rural zone to residential institutional zone passed first and second reading.
Coun. Blair Whitmarsh, who is a dean at TWU, declared a conflict of interest and was not present for the vote or discussion. Coun. Kim Richter and Bob Long were absent.
The proposal is for a “live/learn” building that includes two storeys of educational space and four storeys of student housing with up to 280 beds.
Located where a tennis court and parking lot currently sit, the land that is the subject of the proposal, also sits next to the red-coded Salmon River and requires a restrictive covenant to protect the watercourse.
Coun. Petrina Arnason said she supports the university’s growth, but would like to see a wider plan.
“I’m very supportive of the expansion of the educational infrastructure, but I’m not very comfortable with doing this without having an overall holistic plan for the area,” she said.
“When are we planning on doing a more comprehensive infrastructure plan for this specific area and the university district? Do we have a timeline?”
Mark Bakken, Township CAO, said that a larger plan would encompass the properties west of Glover Road. The land related to this proposal, however, is a remnant piece from the university itself.
Furthermore, only 10 to 15 acres of the university district can be planned at this point. Most of the other land is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“A more fulsome planning process would be subject to bylaws being approved by the ministry (of agriculture) until we’re in a position where we can remove that land or get non-farm use permits for it,” Bakken said.
“And that isn’t on the immediate horizon. So the short answer is, until the circumstances align a bit better, we don’t have a defined time frame for that more elaborate planning process.”