City Hall
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Development disputes, emissions planning, and Oak Bay’s bike lane future

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

City Hall
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Development disputes, emissions planning, and Oak Bay’s bike lane future

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

1030 Fort rendering by Cascadia Architects.
1030 Fort rendering by Cascadia Architects.
City Hall
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Development disputes, emissions planning, and Oak Bay’s bike lane future

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

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Council roundup: Development disputes, emissions planning, and Oak Bay’s bike lane future
1030 Fort rendering by Cascadia Architects.

Victoria council roundup: Disputes over Fort developments’ height and parking

Council moved two Fort Street development proposals forward to public hearings. Both are for six-storey, mixed-use buildings; one in Harris Green's heritage corridor, the other in South Jubilee.

City and residents association disagree on Fort six-storey

The Harris Green proposal would add density and new commercial uses to 1030 Fort, and is generally consistent with the updated Downtown Core Area Plan, according to a staff report. Plans include one ground-level commercial unit and 30 residential rental units (20 one-beds with dens and 10 studios), with no parking stalls for residents or visitors. Currently the site holds a row of low flat-roofed shops.

City staff recommended that council approve zoning changes for the development, calling it "a sensitive and innovative response to the existing form and character of the heritage corridor through a human-scaled design and rich detailing."

The Victoria Downtown Residents Association disagrees. It wrote to council in July, opposing the project on the grounds that it would "undermine the character and appeal" of the area. "We would like to see the maximum of four stories zoning bylaw adhered to," Ian Sutherland, the chair of the association’s land use committee, wrote. "We would also like the developers to provide parking given the density and lack of parking currently."

Although council unanimously agreed to move the project forward, Councillor Geoff Young said he was doing so reluctantly and that "any public reaction that is significant may change my willingness to have this proceed."

Jubilee rental six-storey proceeds, with conditions

The South Jubilee development plans include approximately 34 rental units (ranging from studios to two-beds), a ground-floor commercial unit, a rooftop patio, and a reduction in parking spaces from 36 to 9.

"I wonder how [many] more housing units could be put in if we didn’t have to create homes for cars," Mayor Lisa Helps said. "But I get it, and it’s already a variance."

Below: 1693-1699 Fort rendering by D’Ambrosio.

The proposal, at 1693-1699 Fort, was moved forward with conditions, including that the developer offer current tenants a unit at their existing rent level. The plans guarantee one accessible unit and four reserved as affordable housing for 10 years—which Helps called "above and beyond" what was required of the developer and "a good bar" for rental buildings.

Council received public input both for and against; cases against cited the height in an area that currently has only three- and four-storeys, a reduction in parking, a "loss of character" in the neighbourhood, and potential noise from the rooftop amenity space.

Two-part hearing ends with 822 Catherine approved

At the daytime council meeting, council finished a public hearing that had started on July 28 concerning a proposed Vic West development. After watching and listening to video and audio submissions from the public, council approved the plans for a three-and-a-half storey, mixed-use building at 822 Catherine. The proposed building has two commercial units and approximately 30 residential rental units.

Heated Missing Middle debate dominates Thursday

Council began another public hearing at its evening meeting—this one on the controversial Missing Middle Housing Initiative. See our coverage about the intense discussion and the generational divide it revealed. The hearing resumes Sept. 1.

By Tori Marlan

Saanich makes a plan for making a study for making a plan

Council will discuss the terms of reference for the Quadra McKenzie Area Planning Study—a comprehensive study that will recommend policies for improving housing, transportation, and public spaces within four key regions: the McKenzie corridor, Quadra corridor, Quadra-McKenzie Centre, and Four Corners Village.

Plan zones map from District of Saanich; Key enlarged by Capital Daily.

Emissions regulations plans laid out

As covered in yesterday’s newsletter, tonight’s committee of the whole meeting will feature the presentation of a report on adopting stricter energy requirements for new buildings, and the ways in which provincial legislation anticipated this December will allow Saanich and other municipalities to make these stricter regulations.

By Brishti Basu and Cam Welch

Oak Bay has added just 500m of bike lanes in a decade. That could change this fall.

Oak Bay has no current council meeting, but the district is working on an expanded active transportation program. Outgoing public works director Dan Horan told Oak Bay Local that the program will be presented to council this fall and likely included in the next five-year financial plan.

Currently, the district is doing a resident survey that will lead to recommending new sidewalk locations and identifying missing links in the pedestrian network.

In the 11 years since passing its active transportation strategy, Oak Bay has built just 500m of bike lanes—the distance between the library and marina. Its Official Community Plan from 2014 includes "a network plan of trails to support active transportation and highlight greenways," but its current cycling network includes no protected lanes or paved multi-use trails.

This has made Oak Bay something of a gap in the broader regional bike network, and the district has also at times been at odds with other plans in that network—such as proposed protected lanes extending through Victoria and up to the Oak Bay Avenue shops, or Victoria’s Richardson plan.

Read more on the past and future of Oak Bay’s cycling network at Oak Bay Local, and read more on the whole region’s cycling plans at Capital Daily.

By Ryan Hook

Westshore councils

On the Westshore, municipal business is slow during these dog days of summer. There will be more updates next week, and you can keep up to date with everything Westshore over in The Westshore newsletter and its just-launched website.

Peninsula councils

Sidney considers townhomes on Fifth

An application to develop a new 12-unit townhouse complex at 2411 Malaview and 10147-10145 Fifth is back at council tonight, after it was forwarded to the advisory planning commission for review last month. It would be four buildings with three three-bed townhouse units each.

Townhomes rendering from development application.

The lots currently contain a duplex and a single-family house, in a neighbourhood composed of single-family dwellings, duplexes, townhouse developments, and apartments. Construction would require the removal of six protected trees (one Douglas fir and five Western cedar trees). Developer Dallas Ruud plans to replace them with 11 new cherry plum and Greek oak species, and seven smaller Japanese maples and snowbell trees.

"Our objective is to create ground-oriented family housing that will be most functional and suitable for a modern family lifestyle, and that will be an attractive addition to an established neighbourhood and community," Ruud wrote in an Aug. 2 letter to council making his case for the development variances.

There will be a 10-minute period for members of the public to comment on the proposal after the applicant’s presentation.

By Brishti Basu

Central Saanich gets climate funds and hosts memory care facility hearing

Central Saanich will receive $130k next year in climate action funding from BC’s Local Government Climate Action Program. The program distributes money brought in through carbon taxes. It will decide what projects to spend the money on in the 2023 planning process.

Central Saanich attempted this summer to opt-out and divest from the CRD-wide climate action service and put more into its own climate efforts, but was denied by the board.

There will be a public hearing tonight on a rezoning and development permit for a five-storey 53-bed memory care facility at 7005 East Saanich. The proponent, Wiser Projects, is looking for a variance to cover more of the lot, and with more density. It's next door to Island View Place Care, a senior care home, "an ideal neighbour" for a memory care facility, according to Wiser.

By Jimmy Thomson

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