It used to be an old Pizza Hut. That might be good for selling pies, but for the owners of OpenRoad Mazda in Port Moody, it doesn't necessarily fit for cars.
So the car dealer plans on building a new dealership and service centre building at its current location on St Johns Street. The plan is to build a three-storey dealership, similar to the OpenRoad Lexus on the same street.
On Tuesday, city council narrowly approved the variance permit required after a lively debate on the application.
Couns. Zoe Royer, Rosemary Small and Rick Glumac voted against the permit.
Small pointed out the plan scored poorly on the city's sustainability checklist, noting a poor rating for storm-water management and resource efficiency. She also took issue with the plan for a threestorey building.
"I wonder why we have bylaws that we constantly ignore and allow people to make these variances," Small said.
However, Coun. Diana Dilworth argued the sustainability checklist is unfair in this case, as it asks for features that don't apply to this type of project.
She suggested staff consider reviewing the checklist.
"Quite frankly, I think you got a raw deal on some of these ratings," she told an architect representing OpenRoad at the council meeting.
Though Mayor Mike Clay voted in favour of granting the variance, he offered his thoughts on car dealerships in general. "I'm not a fan of car dealerships," he said. "I don't think car dealerships are very environmentally sensitive."
He urged the company's architects to continue to work with the city to make the design as environmentally friendly as possible.
For its part, the architect representing the dealership suggested the design continues to improve on the checklist. He noted the building is wheelchair accessible, while the dealership will use dark-sky compliant light fixtures, turf blocks to improve storm-water management and light-coloured paving and roofing membrane to reduce the heat island effect.