City council voted on Wednesday to allow a parking lot to operate on the former Capital Pointe site.

Council voted 8-3 to allow the parking lot, which will operate for one year. The owners will have to go back to city council if they want an extension.

“There is always some risks, but there is an opportunity for development on that site,” said Mayor Michael Fougere during the meeting. “There is some hope this individual investor and the owner develop a property in a way that provides something other than a parking lot, and to pay back taxes.”

Debate over the parking space, slated for the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue, was contentious.

Some councillors said it was best they see the city wait on a parking study of downtown before approving the lot.

As well, some said the owner didn’t offer much information on what a future development would look like, worrying the lot would last longer than the proposed year.

The majority, however, felt the lot would allow the owners to repay the outstanding taxes on the site. The owners owe the city roughly $2.7 million.

“I’m OK with the one year, but I’m not thrilled,” said Coun. Sharron Bryce. “I wouldn’t want to see it extended past the year.”

The lot is particularly sensitive given the history of the site.

The former Capital Pointe development caused headaches for the city, which had to fill the hole that was left behind after it was left empty for years.

The planning commission originally voted that the parking lot be paused until the city’s parking study comes back in January, but the city clerk decided a final say from city council was needed.   

Magnetic Capital Group is expected to be the owner of the site later this year after a court order goes through. The land could become a parking lot sometime after November.

A representative with the company said the parking lot is necessary to generate revenue and pay taxes.

The representative indicated the future development of the site hinged on the parking lot, saying Magnetic would have to re-discuss plans with the developer if the lot wasn’t approved.

Magnetic didn’t specify what the future development of the space will look like, but told city council they would work with administration to propose a plan that they say won’t fail.

The company indicated it’s possible they might ask for an extension to operate the lot for longer than one year, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unpredictability in the market.

The lot is expected to feature 87 surface parking stalls, and eight stalls for motorcycle parking and bicycle parking.

It would be gated and drivers would be able to access it by using the north alley. Drivers may also be allowed to access the lot on Albert Street, as long as the applicant installs a median on Albert Street.

HOW CITY COUNCIL VOTED:

In favour of the parking lot:

  • Mayor Michael Fougere.
  • Coun. Sharron Bryce.
  • Coun. Lori Bresciani.
  • Coun. Joel Murray.
  • Coun. Mike O’Donnell.
  • Coun. Jason Mancinelli.
  • Coun. Jerry Flegel.
  • Coun. Barbara Young.

Against:

  • Coun. John Findura.
  • Coun. Bob Hawkins.
  • Coun. Andrew Stevens.