Seniors residence requires portion of Vernon park

City officials promise a proposed seniors complex won’t overshadow a downtown Vernon park.

City officials promise a proposed seniors complex won’t overshadow a downtown Vernon park.

About 2,150-square-metres of Luc Girouard Park, also known as the Rock, is required so the Schubert Centre on 30th Avenue can develop two separate residential buildings.

“We  have told them the buildings can’t be higher than the Rock,” said planner Dale Rintoul of the hill which provides views of the community.

The city will hold a public open house to gather input on the proposed land use designation and disposal of part of the park so it can be used by the Schubert Centre.

“If you look at what’s going to be shaved off, it’s the lower part of the bank,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

“This could make it an improvement because there’s a lot of loose shale and that would be removed.”

Lippert says there would be better access to the park trail and he is assured that the height of the buildings would not exceed the top of the hill.

Depending on the outcome of the public open house, the city could then proceed with selling a portion of the park and amending the official community plan.

The buildings would be constructed in phases, with phase one consisting of a 56-unit, four-storey structure over two levels of concrete parking at the north end of the property. The second phase would use the parking lot between the Schubert Centre and the Interior Health Authority to the southwest.

“In order to continue to serve this community, the society is planning for our long-term financial stability through a proposal to develop additional parking and residential housing adjacent to the centre,” said Jack Gareb, Schubert Centre manager.

In terms of the portion of city-owned land being sought, Gareb describes it  as “mainly used for illicit activities and is difficult to access.”

“The project will provide for increased recreational value to the park by improving on access and upgrading the existing park pathway, contribute to the city’s heritage revitalization through the addition of signage that recognizes the historical importance of this area and increase affordable seniors housing in Vernon.”