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

Council roundup: Pickleball plans, mixed-use condos, and park expansions

Here’s what is happening at councils across Greater Victoria this week

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

Council roundup: Pickleball plans, mixed-use condos, and park expansions

Here’s what is happening at councils across Greater Victoria this week

The Centennial racquet courts. Image from Central Saanich facility booking page.
The Centennial racquet courts. Image from Central Saanich facility booking page.
Latest News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Pickleball plans, mixed-use condos, and park expansions

Here’s what is happening at councils across Greater Victoria this week

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Council roundup: Pickleball plans, mixed-use condos, and park expansions
The Centennial racquet courts. Image from Central Saanich facility booking page.

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Trutch renaming will become official in Victoria

A residential street in Fairfield that honours a colonial politician will be officially renamed on July 10. Council voted unanimously last Thursday to adopt a bylaw to change Trutch Street to Su’it Street, a Lekwungen word for “truth.”

As the chief commissioner of lands and works, Joseph Trutch significantly reduced the size of First Nations' reserves, contrary to prior agreements, and left a lasting legacy of harm. He also served as BC’s first lieutenant governor. In 2017, UVic removed his name from a residence building. 

The name change was set in motion several years ago. Following the removal of Trutch’s name from a UVic building in 2017, city council held a public hearing on whether to remove it from the street. Last year, university students petitioned city council to revisit the issue, saying Trutch Street remained a “symbol of cultural genocide.”

Council’s vote in favour of the change was unanimous. “I think if we’re serious about reconciliation and respectful relations between Indigenous peoples and the settler governments, this modest step is one worth taking,” Councillor Ben Isitt said.

Construction waste bylaw approved

Council also adopted a bylaw that aims to divert construction waste from the landfill. Under the Demolition Waste and Deconstruction Bylaw, a waste-management fee of $19,500 will be refunded to demolition permit holders who salvage a certain amount of wood for reuse. The first phase of implementation begins in September.

Vic West temp shelter pitched as supportive housing

Also on Thursday, council voted to advance a process that could lead to a temporary 50-bed homeless shelter in VicWest being converted into about 40 permanent supportive-housing units. The site is zoned for light industrial use, but the province, exempt from local zoning bylaws, bought the warehouse at 225 Russell last spring to house people during the pandemic. For the conversion project to be realized, council will need to rezone the site, amend the Official Community Plan, and hold a public hearing.

By Tori Marlan

Sidney updates Climate Action Plan

At the regular committee of the whole meeting on June 20, staff presented council with an overview of their updated Climate Action Plan for the committee’s approval. The plan’s target is to reduce Sidney emissions 50% below 2007 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. After staff’s presentation, Coun. Peter Wainwright said, "It didn’t really strike me as a plan," adding that he would like to see the implementation planning done and have this draft updated.

Coun. Chad Rintoul disagreed, saying he saw the plan as a tool to hold them accountable to their climate promises, and that council would have to be "fluid" so that they can apply for grant opportunities as they arise. In the end, everyone in the committee, except for Councillor Wainwright, voted to approve the plan.

By Hanna Hett

North Saanich adds EV stations and pickleball security

At the June 20 regular council meeting, staff presented a report on the CRD-led regional public electric vehicle (EV) charging network grant application and its two suggested EV charging stations at Patricia Bay Park. After Coun. Stock raised the concern that the Patricia Bay parking lot is always full, council still voted to authorize the charging stations but with an amendment that allows for having them at other locations.

Security hired to close pickleball courts at day’s end

Staff also presented a report on pickleball, where they suggested that North Saanich hire a security firm (at an estimated $3K in 2022) to close the courts at the end of each day in the summer, in efforts to mitigate the sport’s noise.

Coun. Jack McClintock raised concerns that it might be difficult for guards to stop players during their game, saying "I guess we just have to wait and see whether or not it’s accepted by the pickleball community." He added that he’d rather see the courts policed by the pickleball community rather than taxpayers, and is disappointed they haven’t stepped up to enforce this. All councillors voted in favour of hiring the security firm.

By Hanna Hett

Central Saanich addresses Oldfield farm dispute

A longstanding dispute with the owner of a farm on Oldfield Road is coming before council. The owner built two suites on his property for farm workers, under the condition that he would decommission the original house. He has not yet done so, and now the planning department says there are three illegal suites on the property. Central Saanich’s building inspector is now threatening to put a notice on the title of the property, which would be a notification to anyone searching the property title (such as a potential buyer) that it’s in violation of the bylaw.

Bumped motions arrive tonight

Coun. Newton’s motion from the June 13 meeting—suggesting that the district secure housing for health-care workers—was not completed at the previous meeting, and has been moved to tonight’s meeting. Similarly, Coun. Paltiel’s motion that the district look at what supports are available in the event of a heatwave has been moved to tonight.

Fisticuffs feared over pickleball on tennis courts

Council will also receive no fewer than 10 pieces of correspondence both in favour and against pickleball players’ use of tennis courts. Signage was recently removed from the Centennial Tennis Courts, which had prohibited pickleballers from the courts. That has aroused fears of potential "fisticuffs" in the words of one resident, with many agreeing the two sports are not compatible. Pickleball-vs-tennis conflicts have flared up in several Island-region municipalities, even sparking a community centre "coup" for control of facilities.

By Jimmy Thomson

Oak Bay survey respondents want midsize infill housing

At last Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Oak Bay council reviewed the first round of its infill housing engagement.

Over the past two months, six "walk-and-talks" were completed around the municipality where residents were encouraged to share their opinions on what a denser Oak Bay could look like. The council’s impression from the feedback sessions was that Oak Bay residents want more housing affordability and diversity—and they want it soon.

Based on community responses from the outings, as well as a public survey, it appears townhouses and duplexes were wanted most in the municipality, as well as a preservation of green space and ecology.

According to the survey, 86% of respondents want apartments near amenities and transit; 89% want secondary suites; 83%larger lots subdivided into smaller lots; and 77% would like to see infill housing in all areas of Oak Bay, including the less-dense Uplands neighborhood.

Among the people with the highest level of housing dissatisfaction were those around the age of 20, as well as seniors—the two demographics most impacted by a lack of housing. A final report on infill housing options, which includes a draft policy, design guidelines, and bylaw amendments, is expected by the end of this year.

By Ryan Hook

House hearings in Esquimalt

Public Safety Building costs rise

Council will hold two special council meetings in the afternoon, the latter of which will consider adding $6M to their $42M budget for the Public Safety Building construction project. This project is meant to replace the existing fire hall and police building in Esquimalt. The new, three-storey building is slated for completion in summer 2024, and will also house the municipality’s first dedicated emergency operations centre.

Public safety building rendering from Esquimalt virtual open house.

Hearing: Investor groups apply for five-storeys

In the evening, at 7pm, there will be a public hearing to address a rezoning application from Boardwalk REIT and Invictus Commercial Investment Corp. It would allow the construction of two five-storey residential buildings, dubbed The Marin, facing Carlisle and Lyall. Of the up to 213 units in these buildings, over half are slated to be one-bedrooms, with a covenant ensuring 20 three-beds. Council will consider public input at this hearing before deciding whether to give the proposal third reading.

By Brishti Basu

Saanich votes in favour of two large developments after public hearings

Four-storey at 520 Normandy

Council unanimously approved last Tuesday’s first project, a 68-unit rental building. Its initial design was brought forward by Aryze Development in November 2017, and its most recent in June 2021. The net-zero building will include 22 bachelor suites, 28 one-beds, and 18 two-beds. Given its location near public transit and bike corridors, only 32 parking spaces are included. Instead it has extra enclosed bike parking, and all residents will get a Modo car share membership. The application was unanimously approved by council.

Large mixed-use condo project on Glanford

The project passed the hearing stage with only Coun. Natalie Chambers opposed. It will include 252 condos in three buildings, the tallest reaching 10 storeys. Included are 58 studios, 90 one-beds, 52 two-beds, and 51 two-bed-plus-den units; 25 units will be kept at 15% below market rate for 10 years. Market rate will be defined by the CMHC at the time of occupancy, so if the local market keeps rising as much as it has in the past year these prices may not end up being below current rates.

The mixed-use building will also include some light industrial, retail, and daycare space, along with a medical clinic. A non-profit daycare provider, which will offer 49 daycare spots, will not be charged rent for a minimum of 10 years. See aerial view below, from a Shape Architecture Inc. rendering.

Aerial rendering from Shape Architecture.

A third development proposal for a mixed-use rental building at 1641-1647 McRae and 3226 Shelbourne will be discussed at a public hearing on Tuesday, July 5 at 7pm.

By Jolene Rudisuela

Colwood plans new hub where major roads and Goose intersect

The intersection at Island Highway, Sooke Road, and Goldstream Avenue is being looked at as the next hub for revitalization in Colwood. A draft plan for the area, called the Gateway and Triangle Lands Vision and Action Plan, is out for review. The stated goals for the area are to emphasize public space for long-term benefit, prioritize gathering space and active transportation, and look for dense mixed-use development with active pedestrian spaces. The Galloping Goose crosses though the busy intersection, and Colwood is looking to capitalize on the funding they secured for a pedestrian overpass by building out more active spaces on either end.

The Colwood hub draft plan's Triangle Lands internal high street, running parallel to Goldstream Ave.

Colwood may ban new natural gas hookups

The Citizen’s Environment Network in Colwood (CENiC) is asking council to consider prohibiting natural gas hookups in new construction. They’ve proposed implementing a higher level of the Energy Step Code, a building code program designed to incentivize energy efficient building in BC. Each ‘step’ is more energy efficient than the last, but the system is flexible to allow builders to choose what methods they use to save energy, such as more insulation or the type of energy the home is hooked up to. Currently there’s nothing stopping new builds in Colwood from hooking up to natural gas, which CENiC says is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

New cell tower bylaw pitched

Colwood staff have become aware that the city’s 2009 antenna policy is not in line with Canadian standards, and is prohibiting cell service providers from expanding access to Royal Bay. A staff report on tonight’s (June 27) agenda asks permission to draft a new antenna bylaw that would allow taller transmission towers, and stronger transmitters.

Sooke council faces whether to finish OCP before election

Staff are asking council to decide whether the Official Community Plan update should be paused to wait for after the Oct. 15 election or if council wants to keep working on the revisions in an effort to have a new OCP approved by the last council meeting before the election. Even though the process has been underway for nearly two years, recent public consultation has been less than unanimous.

Mayor Maja Tait told The Westshore the new OCP might have to wait for the new council because there is only so much available time for council to review the plan and ensure the community has been properly heard.

Public hearing tonight: parkland covenant renegotiation

A large development in Sooke between Maple Park Terrace and Mountain Heights Drive has renegotiated a park covenant. The subdivision development area had initially mapped out certain areas that would be given to Sooke as parkland, with trails and a playground, but last year staff discovered that some areas within the covenant had been cleared and used as dumping grounds for crushed rock and dirt. The new covenant dedicates more land for park use, and the reconfiguration of space also allows for more lots in the development.

Not many matters on Metchosin meeting menu

The agenda includes one variance request for someone building a secondary suite, meeting minutes, and a handful of letters to council.

But in case you missed it, here’s something Metchosin has been working on behind the scenes for several months.

Langford’s Veterans Memorial Park to double in size

Last week Langford Parks Manager Yari Nielsen confirmed the expansion, done via a $4M purchase of land from the Masonic Lodge. Nielsen told council that all the mature trees on the purchased property will be retained—specifically the tall sequoia on the corner of Goldstream and Aldwyn Road. Read the details at The Westshore.

Last week The Westshore also covered the declaration of two candidates for Langford council who are with the Langford Now elector organization that emerged from the Langford Voters for Change Facebook group. They are UVic biochemist Mary Wagner and geography Master’s candidate Colby Harder.

By Zoë Ducklow

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