Saskatchewan

Proposed new zoning for Regina would mean no new gyms, martial arts studios in industrial areas

Proposed changes to the City of Regina's zoning bylaw would prohibit new gyms in industrial areas and forbid existing gyms in those areas from expanding.

New rules would also prevent expansion

The martial arts school is at 1210 Lorne St. (Emily Pasiuk/CBC News)

Proposed changes to the City of Regina's zoning bylaw would prohibit new gyms and martial arts studios from opening in industrial areas.

Existing facilities of the prohibited types would be grandfathered in, but would not be allowed to expand under the proposal.

That means one gym that was hoping to expand is now up against the clock.

Kim Delesoy is the owner and instructor at Spirit of the Dragon, a martial arts studio at 1210 Lorne St. When the business approached the city about expansion for a non-profit program, it was told about the potential changes.

The plan was to build an addition to house more of the free or highly discounted programming the business offers for those who can't afford it. The programming would include things like confidence building, team building and self-defence, Delesoy said.

She said if Spirit of the Dragon doesn't proceed with the renovation before the bylaw changes, it won't be an option for the business.

"I was shocked, to be honest," Delesoy said. "We have so many martial arts and fitness businesses in that area."

'A lot of calls and emails'

In an emailed statement, the city said the proposed change is meant to encourage the development of gyms in mixed-use or residential zones.

Ward 6 city Coun. Joel Murray said he's received "a lot of calls and emails" about the issue.

Existing facilities will still be able to undergo minor expansions, he added.

Councillors will debate the proposal at city hall on June 17. People have until June 11 to request to speak at that meeting.

One gym owner CBC spoke with said the city reached out to her and said it is trying to set something up for all the gym owners. 

Land there is affordable

Industrial areas are ideal places to operate gyms because a large amount of square footage is available at a low price, Delesoy said.

"It tends to be about the only affordable place for this type of business because they're not huge money makers. We can't work on the same footage as a small retail store and we can't bring in the same amount of money," she said. 

Delesoy said she is planning on reaching out to other businesses and also talking to the city. 

Joe Bossenberry, co-owner of Queen City Martial Arts, said that he hopes the grandfather clause does end up making it into the bylaw. He is also concerned about the expansion of his business in the future. 

"If you need to move to a bigger space, well now you're forced into more expensive areas. You have no choice now," he said.

Colliers International sent a letter to Bossenberry informing him of the potential changes. It's not clear why Colliers sent the letter.

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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