Life in an industrial world

A new industrial subdivision in the Marwell area could boast up to 60 housing units. That’s what Northern Vision Development, the…

A new industrial subdivision in the Marwell area could boast up to 60 housing units.

That’s what Northern Vision Development, the subdivision’s owner, is asking council to approve.

The 90-square-metre caretaker units would be triplex units — three units per property — in the middle of a business/industrial subdivision built next to a sewage lift station in an area with no parks.

Normally caretaker units are restricted to a maximum of 288 square metres per unit, per property.

And, while the units are not being built for families, at least one councillor has some concerns.

“A 1,000-square-foot building is a pretty good-sized building,” said councillor Dave Stockdale.

“My house is 1082 square feet,” he said, adding that he raised an entire family in that space.

Northern Vision isn’t looking to put a residential subdivision in Marwell, said spokesman Ted Lambert.

The company just wants to give industrial property owners some options, he said.

“I agree with councillor Stockdale, 1082 square feet is a good size,” said Lambert. “But with those, you have a basement, a yard and a garage.

“We don’t intend to become the next Copper Ridge … our intent is to provide options.

“We’re not in the residential development business.”

The company pitches the subdivision as a commercial park featuring businesses and industries that service the Porter Creek lower bench.

When it is developed, commercial/industrial operators can live in close proximity to their work site, he said.

Every prospective buyer will be told about the smell of raw sewage that frequently wafts through the area from the lift station, said Lambert.

“It’s in the purchase agreement that the noises and odour are there.”

The application has some pros and some cons, according to a city administrative report.

On the downside, the area would have housing that would not be suitable for children.

“There are land-use concerns that arise when proposing to mix residential and industrial uses,” the report states.

“It is common for children to use streets for recreation. As the proposed road design does not include sidewalks and there is the possibility of heavy equipment traffic in the area, there is a potential hazard.

“Industrial areas do not usually have recreational facilities or parks nearby.”

The residences would also not have much space between them as the units would be built closely together, states the report.

While a development agreement could be drafted between the city and the developers to prevent the area from becoming a multi-family-type subdivision, it would be difficult to enforce, adds the report.

On the positive side, the development plans are in line with green principles — people will be working and living in the same area.

“There are also benefits to having people living and working in one building.

“This type of development is in line with smart growth principles as it adds to the diversity of housing options and can reduce transportation needs.”

Contact Matthew Grant at