City council cancels EFry public hearing
The status of plans to expand the Elizabeth Fry Society facility in Sapperton is up in the air after the society requested a public hearing into a rezoning application be cancelled.
Fry wants to build a 21,000 square-foot facility at its present location at East Columbia and Sherbrooke in Sapperton and on two adjoining lots.
Area residents collected signatures from homeowners on nearby streets opposed to the plan because it would encroach on their residences, take away potential residential land and set a precedent for more commercial development on Sherbrooke opposite Royal Columbian Hospital.
The opposition, however, was apparently not a factor in the society’s request to cancel the hearing. In a letter to the city, Elizabeth Fry executive director Shawn Bayes wrote Royal Columbian had presented its plan to build a new building on the land adjacent to the society’s buildings.
“In light of this, we propose that the date be set off until the Development Services Department has had an opportunity to review the information, consult with the community, and provide for opportunity for city planning and council to consider the full implications and elements,” she wrote.
Staff will bring back a report to council when it meets on Monday. The next opportunity for a public hearing would be July 11, and if it isn’t held then it would have to wait until after the summer, said city clerk Rick Page.
The society’s plans called for the expansion to house Fry’s corporate office and provide space for training, 10 long-term client apartments and a public daycare.
To make it happen they need a change to the Official Community Plan and a rezoning for 273 and 275 Sherbrooke St.
Despite a large group of residents opposed to the plan appearing before them, council members had passed first and second readings earlier this month before scheduling the public hearing for June 27.