Clearwater Chamber of Commerce discusses development projects

Two proposals with possible important ramifications were the topics of discussion

  • Sep. 26, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Two proposals with possible important ramifications were the topics of discussion during a Clearwater Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 16.

Dr. Bob Mackenzie presented his ideas on developing the former planer-mill site on the Flats. Ron Rotzetter and Candus Graffunder, who presented a progress report on the proposed Bearview shopping center, followed him.

Mackenzie said his ideas don’t just include the planer-mill site but also the area near the confluence of the Clearwater and North Thompson rivers, and the former log haul road that connects them.

“I think it’s an incredibly valuable piece of land,” he said.

Many years ago former Clearwater residents Frank Ritcey and Ross Cloutier tried to obtain the planer-mill site for a heritage park, he recalled.

They were unsuccessful, but that doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t have merit.

Other possible uses of the land would include a horse arena and powwow site.

Cleaning up the land from the wood preservatives and electrical transformers reportedly left there would be expensive, he said.

Leaving the contaminants in the soil until they leach out into the river would be even more costly, the retired physician felt.

The haul road plus dyke would make an ideal path for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

There are several former keekwillies or pit-houses near the confluence of the two rivers.

That land was transferred from the former Clearwater Timber Products to North Thompson Park many years ago.

The land nearby could be converted to a parking area and interpretive site, he said.

Bearview not in hibernation

Proponents are making progress on the proposed Bearview shopping center, Ron Rotzetter and Candus Graffunder told the Chamber.

The biggest challenge continues to be highway access, they said.

At first they found the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was adamant that there would be no access. More recently, however, they have found the Ministry more accommodating.

Zoning by District of Clearwater also is a concern, as the proposed shopping center would require amending the new official community plan.

What they have found is that the Ministry wants to follow the District on the issue, and the District wants to follow the Ministry.

They have found that the best approach has been to get all the players around a table together and discuss the issues fully.

Bearview shopping center would be a $12 million investment that would provide employment to many people, they said.

It would tie in with other developments proposed for the area, such as a 150-unit seniors housing proposal to be located immediately to the south.

Four Swiss investors are interested in putting money into the project, and are waiting until the highway access and re-zoning questions are settled.