With no public comments made in council chambers at a public hearing Tuesday, city council went on to unanimously approve third reading of zoning bylaw 2187.

Getting the new zoning bylaw to this stage has been a two-year process.

Planning and development services manager Sean O’Flaherty said the new bylaw could come before council for adoption by the end of March.

Many amendments were made to the bylaw in the process of getting it to third reading, including a move by council to place restrictions on asphalt plants as well as looking at home-based businesses, which ultimately led to this latest public hearing.

Although approved unanimously, one councillor reluctantly voted in the affirmative.

Coun. Ginny Prowal did not approve of council’s amendment to the zoning bylaw prohibiting asphalt processing as a permitted use in areas zoned M2 for heavy industrial use.

“I don’t believe it’s in our best interest to reject any company wanting to invest in our city. That could negatively affect our credibility and reputation,” Prowal told her fellow councillors.

Prior to becoming a councillor, Prowal had shown her support at council meetings for an asphalt processing plant that attempted to set up shop within city limits.

A landowner can still apply to amend zoning to permit asphalt processing on a specific piece of property under the zoning bylaw.

Merritt’s new zoning bylaw contains corrections to errors in zoning, amalgamates certain zones and contains refreshed rules surrounding fabric car ports and cargo containers.

The zoning bylaw document itself is more clear and concise than the old one, and contains diagrams to convey clarity.

The bylaw was also forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation for its approval.