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Council roundup: Missing middle, blower bans, and bylaw exceptions

Here's what is happening at local councils this week

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

Council roundup: Missing middle, blower bans, and bylaw exceptions

Here's what is happening at local councils this week

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.

Council roundup: Missing middle, blower bans, and bylaw exceptions

Here's what is happening at local councils this week

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Council roundup: Missing middle, blower bans, and bylaw exceptions
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Victoria council: After another reversal, Missing Middle heads to public info session

Council moved the Missing Middle housing initiative forward last week, voting to hold a public information session on July 12, give bylaw readings on July 14, and hold a public hearing on August 4. Council also authorized using up to $25k from the contingency budget to send out mailings to notify every Victoria resident of the information session. The Missing Middle proposal would allow for blanket rezoning of single-family lots to make it easier to build multifamily housing.

Councillors Ben Isitt, Charlayne Thornton-Joe, and Geoff Young voted against moving the initiative to public hearing, with Councillors Jeremy Loveday and Sharmarke Dubow absent.

"Missing Middle isn't ready because it's missing affordability," Isitt said. On May 26, council voted 5-4 to approve Isitt's motion to refer the Missing Middle initiative back to staff for further consultation. But last Thursday, councillor Stephen Andrew, who’d voted for the motion, introduced a successful motion to reconsider the referral. Andrew told Capital Daily that concerns he’d had about there not being enough time for the public to digest the proposal between the information session and the public hearing had been alleviated.

Coming up at Victoria council this week: a bylaw on "unbuilding." Unbuilding is a method of reducing waste through deconstructions (rather than demolitions); Capital Daily broke it down here.

By Tori Marlan

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Oak Bay: Blower ban bumps affordable housing analysis

In the last council meeting on May 24, council moved a motion to ban gas-powered equipment in the next 3 years. The majority of the council meeting was spent hearing support from the public, and other councillors, about the motion until the meeting ended. Meanwhile, another important issue was foregone: affordable housing.

Intended to be discussed on the May 24 agenda was councillor Andrew Appleton's motion for an analysis of the development of affordable housing in the district. Appleton wrote that he would like staff to review land use designations and planning areas to determine what areas in Oak Bay are appropriate for affordable housing. The motion was not discussed, so it had to wait until the meeting tonight.

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By Ryan Hook

Esquimalt: Selkirk Apartments go to hearing

Tonight council hosts a public hearing to get feedback on a rezoning proposal for 815 and 825 Selkirk Ave. TLA Developments has applied to redevelop the two lots, currently zoned for one single-family residential unit each—into a 5-story apartment building. It would contain 46 units: 26 one-bedrooms, 19 two-beds, and 1 three-bed.

The proposal for Selkirk Apartments has undergone two readings at council, after which the developer made amendments such as adding a loading zone and frosted glass on balconies for privacy. It is expected to move on to third reading deliberations after this public hearing.

Council will also discuss adopting their annual report for 2021, which contains a summary of municipal operations in sectors such as development, parks and recreation, first responder services, and more last year.

Rendering of Selkirk Apartments (cropped) from Alan Lowe Architect Inc.

Central Saanich looks at housing for health workers

In light of the doctor and nurse shortage in Central Saanich, councillor Gordon Newton is introducing a motion at tonight’s council meeting that will ask staff to look at the possibility of Central Saanich securing housing for health-care workers—and eventually, buying and renting properties at below-market rates to health-care workers.Council is also considering a motion from councillor Zeb King to apply for BC government funding for projects geared toward "improving the safety and well-being of our aging citizens." Grants are up to $25,000.

By Jimmy Thomson

North Saanich approves contractors & agreements

At the June 6 regular council meeting, council approved G&E Contracting LP for the contract to repave the McTavish Fire Hall Parking Lot for nearly $400,000.

Next, council approved amendments to the current antenna site licence agreements with Freedom Mobile and Telus, allowing the companies to add new antennas and radios for additional annual rental fees.

They also approved the contractor for the district’s largest project this summer, the Deep Cove water renewal contract, to Allterra Construction LTD for nearly $2.9 million. They will replace 2.5 km of asbestos cement mains that were installed in the 1960s.

By Hanna Hett

Sidney: Protected tree to get reprieve

At the June 6 regular committee of the whole meeting, council discussed a development application for a 2-storey, 17-unit multi-family residential townhouse which would remove two protected trees, including a Deodar Cedar with a 78cm diameter. Council approved staff’s recommendation that the applicant redesign their plans so that the Deodar cedar won’t be removed.

By Hanna Hett

Sooke council: Crossroads ahead for several major developments

Staff recommends against bylaw exceptions for apartment proposal

A public hearing is scheduled for a development proposal for a vacant downtown lot where the owners want to build two 6-storey apartment buildings, totalling 161 rental units. The proposal asks for three exceptions to the bylaw, which staff have recommend be rejected so they can work with the proponent, WestUrban Developments Ltd., to adjust the plan bringing it into compliance with Sooke’s existing bylaws.

WestUrban Developments Ltd. architectural rendering for 6645 Sooke Road.

Lions Club facility plan will go to fall town hall

For over a year council has been talking with the Sooke Lions Club about leasing a portion of the John Phillips Memorial Park to the club to build a facility to host community events with space for a large meeting hall, daycare space, seniors lounge, and outdoor gathering space.

Last year Council undertook the alternative approval process of a mail-out—a voting method where a town can assume support if less than 10% of voters indicate opposition—and received 9.13% response. While still legally under the threshold, this was enough to encourage council to hold more consultation. At this point, council is proposing a town hall for September 2022 as the next step.

Subdivision altered parkland that was in its covenant

A subdivision between Maple Park Terrace and Mountain Heights Drive in Sooke, in the works for several years, has a covenant requirement to dedicate a section of the land as parkland. Development is not allowed to proceed until a parks and trails plan is accepted.During a staff visit in 2021, they discovered that "significant" areas of land earmarked to become parkland had been "significantly altered by way of clearing, blasting, and substantial volumes of fill material deposited on top." This changed which areas would be allowed to become parkland, and has resulted in a new covenant being proposed.

OCP up next

Sooke council also has a special meeting on Wednesday to continue reviewing proposed updates to the Official Community Plan.

By Zoë Ducklow

Westshore: Business park proposed and rezoning rejected

Colwood considers building & business park

A developer has submitted a plan for the old Jasmine Family Restaurant beside the Western Communities court house on Island Highway, just across from the Juan de Fuca rec centre. The proposal is for a 5-storey building with 80 residential units and a pair of commercial units on the ground floor.

Petro Canada (Suncor Energy), which owns the land on the southeast corner of Sooke Road and Veterans Memorial Highway, is proposing a small business park. The development would have a curved footprint and include commercial space and a car wash. There are an estimated 48 protected trees on the site, concentrated on the west side where the property borders a proposed residential building.

Business park rendering by JM Architecture Inc.

No rezoning without a development plan, Langford tells applicant

A rezoning applicant who approached Langford city council without a development plan was denied from proceeding to a public hearing, which usually happens after the first reading. The property in question is at 845, 847, and 867 on Goldstream Ave. It’s currently a 2-storey office building, a 1-storey building, a drive-thru Tim Hortons, and an empty lot used for parking.

While Tims’ lease doesn't expire for 7 years, the other commercial space could be redeveloped sooner. Applicants wanted to rezone it to a type of zoning for city centre density (that has no limit on building height), but they will have to come back with a development plan.Read more on this application in The Westshore newsletter.

By Zoë Ducklow

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