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Controversial 902 Foul Bay Road townhouse proposal approved by council

The development will replace a heritage estate that has been vacant since it was gutted by fire in 2016

By Shannon Waters
September 30, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Controversial 902 Foul Bay Road townhouse proposal approved by council

The development will replace a heritage estate that has been vacant since it was gutted by fire in 2016

By Shannon Waters
Sep 30, 2022
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Controversial 902 Foul Bay Road townhouse proposal approved by council

The development will replace a heritage estate that has been vacant since it was gutted by fire in 2016

By Shannon Waters
September 30, 2022
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Controversial 902 Foul Bay Road townhouse proposal approved by council
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

The redevelopment proposal for 902 Foul Bay Road from Aryze Developments was approved at Thursday’s council meeting by a vote of 7-2.

The heritage estate has been vacant since 2016 when a fire destroyed a heritage house on the half-acre property. Aryze’s proposal—to build 18 townhomes plus a playground—received considerable pushback from neighbours, over concerns the project would increase traffic, require the removal of mature trees and fail to adequately address affordability issues. 

The timeline to approve the development, which includes four affordable homes, illustrates the city’s “giant process problem,” according to Mayor Lisa Helps. She pointed out to her fellow councillors that the lengthy approval process for the development resulted in it being excluded from the BC Housing Affordable Home Ownership Program, which would have reduced the downpayment on several units by $200,000.

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“I don't want to be part of a city or a council that has a process where it takes three years to get 18 townhomes in front of us when, as we heard at the public hearing, these townhomes are so desperately needed,” Helps said in council.

According to the developer, construction likely won’t begin for at least six months, and possibly upwards of a year. The cost per unit has increased in the intervening years since it was first proposed; at the time, the market price would have been $900,000 each. 

Four units will be sold at below market rates; two one-bedroom units for an estimated $350,000-400,000 and two three-bedroom units for $650,000-700,000.

By Helps’ count, Victoria council has approved six townhouse developments over the past eight years, now including 902 Foul Bay.

“We need 40 more of these kinds of applications every year to meet the demand for families to be able to stay in the neighbourhoods that they love, including in this neighbourhood,” she said during the meeting.

Coun. Geoff Young agreed that Victoria has a housing affordability issue but said he could not support the project.

“The step from saying we have a problem to saying we should approve this development is a giant one,” Young said. “If you accept the premise [and] you make the step from ‘housing is expensive and scarce’ to’ let's approve this development,’ that applies to every single residential proposal that comes in front of us.”

Young was joined in voting against the project by Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Shannon Waters
Municipal affairs reporter

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