Arcade will continue to operate in the New West Industrial Zone for another two years

An arcade may continue to operate in the Braid Industrial Estate for a few more years, but further work needs to be done before it can be considered for permanent use on industrial land.

In an effort to help East Van Amusements survive pandemic restrictions, the city council approved the issuance of a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) in June 2020, which allowed the business to operate an arcade at 30 Capilano Way. The applicants originally applied for a three-year TUP, but the board approved a two-year permit.

“We are asking for a one-time TUP extension,” candidates Kyle and Amanda Seller wrote in a letter to the city. “It would mean a lot to us, and I believe our business has had a positive impact on the city of New Westminster and brought many people from other areas to the city….”

industry arcade is home to dozens of games, including pinball and arcade games, bubble hockey and more. Customers can book 60-minute, 90-minute, and two-hour rental sessions.

On May 9, the board supported a staff recommendation to extend the temporary use permit for a two-year period until July 13, 2024.

The property is zoned heavy industrial so an arcade is not a permitted use unless the site is rezoned or a temporary use permit is issued.

Com. Patrick Johnstone said he had no problem extending the temporary use license for another two years, but questioned longer-term options for industry arcade.

“The operation did not cause any concern to neighboring properties or any other operator. I just wonder what the way forward is for a permanent change in zoning language or how we can give this operator more certainty than just a two-year TUP,” he said. “I don’t know if the landlord has an interest right now in opening up the entry process into a full rezoning or if we can simplify that process for rezoning, acknowledging that we had a successful TUP.”

East Van Amusements, which opened in 2013, rented arcade machines to restaurants, pubs, the film industry, corporate events and others – until COVID. In a recent letter to the city, he notes that he has yet to do a single pop-up arcade rental since February 2020.

Carolyn Armanini, senior economic development planner, said the company has a kind of “shared use” in that it operates the arcade and also does industrial repairs of arcade games out of the space. .

“By necessity during the pandemic, they had to stop the rental aspect of the arcade, and therefore raise the bar on the commercial aspect. This aspect is where we traditionally encourage these to be on more of our retail business facades,” she said. “In this particular case, moving forward would require rezoning and an OCP amendment because it’s an industrial use. Right now they haven’t necessarily said it’s something that they wanted to be entrepreneurial, I think they are still in a transition period and they really understand where their business operations will go when the pandemic ends.

Armanini said one option could be to consider allowing the arcade as an “ancillary use” on the site, if East Van Amusements wanted to retain that use as part of its business.

Industrial land “crisis”

Emilie Adin, the city’s director of climate action, planning and development, said Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy emphasizes industrial land conservation. She said there may be issues to consider in terms of allowing additional commercial uses on industrial land.

Johnstone said he would like the council to have a conversation about where “auxiliary use” operates and how the city can be more flexible in its industrial uses. He noted that craft breweries often include retail and industrial components.

“I would like us to have a better discussion about this, making sure that we support this. It can actually end up supporting our industrial areas better, if we can give them more flexibility to do this industrial work,” said “It’s clearly not a job you necessarily want to do on a retail tape if you’re doing heavy machinery work.”

Com. Chuck Puchmayr said the temporary use permit is a creative way to meet business needs during the pandemic, and he’d like to see how the city can facilitate that business use on a more permanent basis.

“I strongly support the preservation of our industrial land. We are currently experiencing an industrial land crisis in the Lower Mainland, most of the Lower Mainland and British Columbia. So we have to be very careful what we do,” he said. “I just don’t see 50 arcades opening up in an industrial area, should we be able to provide some flexibility on a more permanent basis.”

Mayor Jonathan Côté backed the temporary use permit, but urged council to “use caution” and carefully consider allowing arcades as permanent use in industrial areas.

“I think we are all aware of the challenges that the region is facing with industrial land, and I would certainly encourage, if we engage in this discussion, to connect this to the broader regional strategy on industrial land and to really understand the challenges we face. ,” he said.

Côté pointed out that Metro Vancouver was considering a “very controversial application” to expand industrial land into rural and natural areas in the region, the reason being that there was not enough industrial land.

“As someone who loves craft breweries and arcades, this seems like a fun opportunity, and maybe it won’t have a bigger and bigger impact, but I think we should be careful because I think that our industrial land faced a death of 1,000 cuts,” he said. “Each individual application is not on its own what has caused the challenge we have, but they all add up .”

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Email tmcmanus@newwestrecord.ca