Creston town council postpones decision on rezoning ‘bunker’ for distillery, bistro

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  • Mar. 25, 2015 7:00 p.m.

The potential rezoning of the 801 Vancouver St. property known as the “bunker” was postponed until April 14 after concerns from a small gallery at yesterday’s public hearing prompted town council to seek information regarding noise and odour from the developer.

Chaplin West Ventures (CWV) proposes to create a bistro and craft distillery on the foundation, requiring the property to be rezoned in the Official Community Plan from institutional to general commercial and on the town zoning map from comprehensive development to mixed-use commercial. (CWV previously expressed interest in creating seniors housing.)

Gwen Brown, a pastor representing the congregation at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, located across Vancouver Street, brought up concerns about odour and noise, as well as sediment harming the church’s historic stained glass.

“We are looking for some assurances,” she said.

Town manager Lou Varela said that CWV had addressed lighting issues, but was unwilling to enter into a voluntary covenant regarding noise and odour. At the request of Coun. Kevin Boehmer, town staff contacted CWV principal owner Michael Chaplin by phone to address the concerns during the hearing.

It is possible, Chaplin said, to collect and/or scent emissions, and noted, “It’s a tougher sell” to investors with restrictions already in place.

“I’ve probably walked into as many as 30 of these, and there was no issue with smell,” said Chaplin.

Fans would be whisper-quiet, he said, and the bistro would feature piano or acoustic music.

“I’ll definitely have something in the lease agreement that will address that,” he said.

Brown also brought up concerns about water usage, and whether the town’s waste water treatment plant could handle the outflow. Coun. Joe Snopek, who chaired the public hearing, said he thought the upgraded plant could handle it.

Regional District of Central Kootenay Area C director Larry Binks, representing the Arrow Creek water board on which he serves, asked whether the distillery’s water usage would be metered.

Municipal services director Ross Beddoes said it would be treated similarly “to the brewery or another large user, such as the rec centre,” although details were still being worked out.

Resident David Butt was concerned about the floor space the distillery would use — over 16,000 square feet — four times the size of other B.C. craft distilleries. Town staff noted the difference in a report to council; CWV said the additional space is needed to store ingredients on-site.

After a brief discussion, council voted to recess the public hearing until April 14, allowing staff to gather more information on odour and noise, with the goal of developing an agreement with CWV.

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