Aside from one councillor’s concerns about lost agricultural land, Port Coquitlam council was charged up for a possible Tesla facility in town.
Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to advance a project that – if all goes according to the plan put forward by Bosa Properties – would bring a Tesla repair shop/import facility to Nicola Avenue. However, the project involves rezoning what has historically been an agricultural area, a prospect that didn’t sit well with Coun. Nancy McCurrach.
“When you take agricultural land away, you can’t ever get it back,” McCurrach cautioned.
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McCurrach noted her opposition to a 2020 rezoning that led to an Art Knapp gardening store being turned into a car dealership.
“Being the designate for the environment, I think it’s important that we do keep green spaces,” she said.
The two vacant parcels at 1021 and 1032 Nicola Ave. total about 7.5 acres. If the commercial development is ultimately approved, the site would be occupied by an approximately 60,000 square foot auto shop that would serve as the primary repair location for Teslas in the Lower Mainland as well as a terminal destination for imports from the United States and China, according to Bosa development manager Jordan Grubner.
“While some vehicles will be distributed among existing Tesla dealerships, the majority of new vehicles (75 percent or more) will be routed through this flagship delivery centre,” according to Grubner.
Workers at the facility will likely deliver about 40 cars a day and repair about 50 vehicles, Grubner stated. The facility will also dispatch mobile mechanics, Grubner explained.
“Nearly 50 percent of service operations will be conducted directly at customers’ homes through a mobile service,” he wrote in a letter to the city.
Assuming a 40-hour week, technicians at the centre will likely take home between $72,000 and $87,000 annuals, while managerial staff will make between $100,000 and $140,000 per year.
In total, the facility should bring about 80 jobs to the city, according to a staff report.
“I think the best thing is 80 good-paying jobs,” said Coun. Glenn Pollock.
Overall, the proposal represents a “great use of the property” and will likely generate less traffic than some other possible uses, Pollock said.
Intersections in the neighbourhood generally operate at “acceptable levels of service,” according to a report prepared by CTS Traffic Engineering Specialists and submitted by Bosa.
The development is estimated to generate about 245 car trips during morning rush hour, 678 car trips during afternoon rush hour, and 800 trips during peak hours on Saturday.
The project will likely lead to a 3.8 percent increase in terms of vehicles on the road during weekday morning rush hour and 8.8 percent during afternoon rush hour.
The centre is slated to include 686 parking spots.
While Coun. Paige Petriw said she liked the project, she also noted a concern about traffic in the area.
“Costco is a nightmare,” Petriw said.
The development runs alongside a waterway that is currently designated as a fish-bearing watercourse.
However, Bosa provided an assessment from Envirowest Consultants that indicated the waterway should be reclassified as non-fish bearing. City staff concurred with the report.
Coun. Darrell Penner said he was in favour of the reclassification.
“That water is water that runs off CP Rail. I don’t know what could actually live in that,” he said.
While Penner said Tesla, “could change their mind tomorrow,” he added that it would be nice to see the area completed.
Coun. Steve Darling suggested the centre include an EV charging station.
“If you’re going to have an electric vehicle dealership there, we should have a place for people to charge their electric vehicles, and not just the Teslas but also others,” he said.
If the project receives first and second reading this summer, the development could be back in council chambers for a public hearing in September, according to city staff.
Mayor Brad West and Coun. Dean Washington did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.