RV dealer out of ‘twilight zone’

Western RV Country has moved a step closer to resuming sales in Red Deer. Red Deer city council on Monday gave first reading to a bylaw to amend the zoning for a 3.9-acre parcel in the West QEII Business Park to allow Western RV to sell there.

A crew from Great White Electrical Services Ltd. installs lights in the showroom of the new Western RV building on Tuesday.

Western RV Country has moved a step closer to resuming sales in Red Deer.

Red Deer city council on Monday gave first reading to a bylaw to amend the zoning for a 3.9-acre parcel in the West QEII Business Park to allow Western RV to sell there. A public hearing, and second and third readings of the bylaw, are scheduled for April 20.

Western RV bought the land while it was still in Red Deer County and subject to zoning that would have allowed sale of vehicles. But before the land could be developed it was annexed into the city and became subject to zoning that prohibits such activity.

“We were caught in the twilight zone, you could say,” said Todd Plotnikoff, Western RV’s project manager.

The company sought to amend the zoning from I1 business service to a direct control designation that would allow it to sell RVs, boats and motorcycles. In the interim, it also obtained development approval from the city so that it could commence construction of a 25,000-square-foot building.

Plotnikoff explained that Western RV wanted to be able to commence operations as quickly as possible when and if the zoning change was approved. However, the matter has dragged out well into 2009’s prime retail period.

“I’ve missed a good three months of the selling season,” said Plotnikoff, who will manage the new dealership.

If city council gives final approval to the zoning change, Western RV should be able to commence operations at the $4.4-million facility by the end of April. It is already serving customers from a temporary location further west.

“People come in and inquire, and we do what we’re allowed to do,” said Plotnikoff. “If we have to do business, we have to do it off-site.”

Western RV, which is owned by Bruce Urban, has affiliate dealerships in Airdrie, Leduc, Wetaskiwin, Calgary, Lethbridge and Sherwood Park. It operated in Red Deer until the fall of 2006, when Urban’s former partner Craig Anstead took over the business and renamed it Paradise RV.

In addition to several lines of RVs, with products ranging from tent trailers to Class A motorhomes, the new Western RV dealership would carry boats and motorcycles, said Plotnikoff. Inventory is currently accumulating in storage, he added.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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