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Update: Forest Power Sports coming to College Heights

Council supported the Prince George-based power sports equipment dealer to build a dealership along Highway 16, near Wal-Mart.

Prince George-based power sports dealer Forest Power Sports is a step closer to building a new dealership and mini-storage facility at the corner of Marleau Road and Bear Road.

On Monday night, city council voted unanimously in favour of rezoning and removing a restrictive covenant on the undeveloped land located immediately west of the SmartCentres mall - which includes Wal-Mart, Visions Electronics, Canadian Tire and other retailers.Council approved the first three readings of the bylaw, final approval will require a second vote at future council meeting.

Forest Power Sports is currently located at 120-988 Great St. in the BCR Industrial Site.

“The current owners would like to expand their business,” L&M Engineering community planner Ashley Thandi said, during a presentation to council on behalf of Forest Power Sports. “As the petition with more than 300 signatures shows, the Prince George community is also excited about this expansion.”

A restrictive covenant registered on the 4.4-hectare (10.9 acre) property in 2008, and modified in July 2011, restricted development on the site to a hotel/motel with no more than 145 rooms, according to a report to council.

“The applicant is proposing to develop a power-sports dealership entirely within the Service Commercial designation,” city director of planning and development Deanna Wasnik wrote in her report. “Administration supports this application, as the proposed power-sports dealership is consistent with the Service Commercial designation and OCP Policy.”

A petition with 322 signatures in support of the development was submitted to city council, along with a letter of support from Visions Electronics manager Camron Mamic. Visions is the closest neighbour to the proposed site.

“I’m writing this letter to voice my strong support of the new location of Forest Power Sports at 3191 Hwy 16, continued development of the upper college heights area will be a boon to all local businesses bringing more services, support and opportunities for everyone in the community,” Mamic wrote. “The power sports industry is wholly positive as it brings people together, is a great source of exercise and allows people to experience the beautiful local landscape and acquire appreciation for local wildlife.”

According to a traffic analysis report done by L&M Engineering on behalf of Forest Power Sports, the planned development calls for a 19,000 sq. foot power sports dealership and 27,000 sq. foot mini-storage facility. The study estimated the dealership would increased traffic by an additional 51 vehicles per hour at peak hours.

A geotechnical survey of the steeply-sloped property, done by GeoNorth Engineering Ltd found the site was suitable for development.

Coun. Kyle Sampson said the site was cleared and prepared for the development of a hotel years ago, but the development didn’t occur.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for the developer, and a good opportunity for some infill in an area that is ready and waiting,” he said.