Pilot Flying J truck stop proposal moves forward

Hope council approves needed bylaw amendments to proceed with property development

A new truck stop along Flood-Hope Road is one step closer to reality.

Council unanimously approved amendments to the district’s Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw on Tuesday night in order to accommodate the development and subdivision of the property adjacent to exit 168 off Highway 1.

The amendments change the OCP land use designation at 62890 Flood-Hope Road from light/service industry to highway commercial and rezone the area from rural to highway commercial.

“We did what we believe our community wanted. They want industry, they want business and we’re going to do what we can to make that happen,” said Mayor Susan Johnston, adding that the project will have huge economic spinoffs for Hope. “I just feel this is the beginning. Once this comes to fruition, the rest will just follow because we’re going to get much more visible.”

Pilot Flying J plans to develop 3.1 hectares (7.47 acres) of the 9.3-hectare (22.95-acre) property into a travel plaza consisting of a gas station, card-lock commercial access diesel refueling facility, Denny’s restaurant, and convenience store. There will also be showers and laundry facilities available for the truck drivers. Project manager Brad Alsup said the development will create up to 100 local jobs and have parking for 67 trucks.

“This gives them a safe place to park with the amenities that they need to be able to comfortably and safely do their job,” he added.

About 50 people attended a public hearing on Monday night for the bylaw amendments, which provided an opportunity for residents to comment on the proposal. Fifteen letters to council were read aloud, with the majority in favour. A 117-name petition against the project was also submitted at the meeting.

Support for the truck stop centred around job creation, economic growth, and broadening Hope’s tax base.

“In order to sustain our way of life we need to create new opportunities for the future generation,” wrote Darren Ferguson. “The health and vitality of our community depends on businesses and government believing in our potential. We should be fighting for businesses like Flying J to come to our community. If we don’t create jobs, the services we have become unsustainable.”

Some of the neighbouring residents on Flood-Hope Road raised concerns about increased truck traffic (a traffic study projected a flow of 50 vehicles per hour at peak times), diesel fumes, sound abatement, and job loss. Aslup said a “fairly heavy” landscape buffer of trees and shrubs is planned to reduce noise.

“Another truck stop travel centre will result in net jobs lost and more business closures of our local merchants in Hope and Silver Creek,” said Irv and Tangy Dyck in a letter. “The domino effect will continue to reduce population, property values, and the number of medical service providers including our hospital.”