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Council roundup: Park plans, public hearings, health-care housing, and more

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

By Capital Daily Staff
August 15, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Park plans, public hearings, health-care housing, and more

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

Kings Park. Image: Google Street View
Kings Park. Image: Google Street View
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Park plans, public hearings, health-care housing, and more

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

By Capital Daily Staff
August 15, 2022
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Council roundup: Park plans, public hearings, health-care housing, and more
Kings Park. Image: Google Street View

Find the dates and times of all upcoming council meetings, and the links to attend, in our municipal master list.

Saanich council: Public consultation proposed for future of Kings Park

There’s a lengthy agenda for this Monday Aug. 15’s District of Saanich council meeting. Five bylaws are up for final reading, three of which would rezone properties for multi-storey apartment construction.

Councillors will also hear from Sharon Hvozdanski, the district’s director of planning, on a proposed public consultation regarding the future of the Kings Park Community Nature Greenspace, which runs along Bowker Creek. Hvozdanski’s report proposes beginning the consultation process this fall with a report and recommendations to be delivered to council by the end of the year.

The district bought the park from BC Hydro for $5.5 million in 2019. Saanich has sought and received contributions from Victoria ($250,000), Oak Bay ($75,000), and the public ($40,000) toward the park cost. Mayor Fred Haynes said in 2021 that the park could become part of a greenway from Bowker Creek to the Galloping Goose.

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Saanich initially planned to pay half the cost and raise funds for the rest through land sales (a Willis Point Road plot sold to the CRD covered about a third of the Kings price) and the contributions from other councils and the public. But council voted last fall to cover what ended up being about 60%, in order to prevent delays in restoration.

Report supports restoring PKOLS park name

In other parks news, Saanich has received a report from the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council (WLC) requesting that “PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park)” replace the current park name "Mount Douglas Park." District staff have recommended that this change be approved; there are existing agreements around it, and it has been a priority action in the Saanich 2017-2023 Strategic Plan.

Report on pandemic’s impact on district finances

The report will be presented tonight by the finance and governance standing committee. It found that most revenue streams—including property and utility taxes and business license revenues—were not impacted by the pandemic. The district did see recreation-related revenues drop by half from 2019 to 2020, but is expecting a 90% bounceback in this year’s budget.

New financial check-ins recommended

Also on the agenda is a recommendation from the mayor’s standing committee on finance and governance to have district staff conduct annual reports on the long-term financial plan and prepare a draft policy to suss out the financial implications of major plans and strategies.

Map: Quadra-McKenzie Planning Study

Quadra-McKenzie study moves ahead

Councillors approved terms of reference for the Quadra McKenzie Planning Study at last week’s meeting, paving the way for the development of a detailed work plan, public outreach strategy, and technical studies to inform the plan. The planning study will put forward policies to improving housing, transportation, and public spaces within four key regions: the McKenzie corridor, Quadra corridor, Quadra-McKenzie Centre, and Four Corners Village.

In-camera personnel-related meeting

Saanich council will have a 6-6:30pm Monday special meeting not open to the public. It is closed because the “matter relates to personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality.”

Pear Street traffic regulation

Three readings are scheduled for a traffic bylaw amendment to include Pear, from Shelbourne to Cedar Hill, as a 30 km/h zone.

Saanich election update: Rebecca Mersereau has announced she will not run again for Saanich council or CRD board (of which she is currently vice-chair), saying “these roles are no longer consistent with my personal needs and well being.”

By Shannon Waters and Cam Welch

Esquimalt council returns with rezoning hearings

Tonight is the first meeting after a month-long break, and it kicks off with public hearings for two rezoning applications.

One is for Aquila Pacific’s proposed 12-storey, 109-unit development at 602, 608, and 612 Nelson, which council moved to public hearing at its last meeting on July 11.

612 Nelson rendering by Casola Koppe Architects

Much of the rezoning is required for the developer’s plan to save a ground-floor space for a commercial unit. This space is intended to be occupied by a cafe or eatery. The residential units are one studio, 64 one-beds, and 44 two-beds, with 10 units sold at 85% of market.

Small-development bylaw changes proposed

At the meeting, staff will also recommend council give first, second, and third readings to bylaw amendments for several smaller developments—like townhouses—and addendum to existing single family homes, like garden suites and setbacks. 

By Brishti Basu 

Victoria council: No more August meetings

Meetings will resume Sept. 1, with the continuation of the Missing Middle hearing from Aug. 4. The first story, from new Capital Daily municipal reporter Shannon Waters, looks at several aspects of that contentious hearing, including the locals who felt they weren’t being heard and the question of how much affordability factors into this proposed policy. 

Oak Bay election update

The first candidate has declared for Oak Bay: Carrie Smart, an architect who is a member of Oak Bay’s Advisory Planning Commission and Climate Action Working Group. Oak Bay Local interviewed her last week.

Peninsula councils: Central Saanich will not buy housing to support health-care staff

Gordon Newton’s motion to do so, from June, came before council at last week’s meeting.

“Housing is a real tool that municipal and local governments have in their toolkit to try and find a solution to this,” Newton said to his fellow councillors in introducing his motion. “This is one idea that’s come forward to help facilitate that.”

Newton wanted the municipality to buy and, through a property management firm, rent housing units to health-care staff at below-market rates. 

“There’s plenty of people within our municipality that aren’t working in health care that are dealing with housing issues,” said Coun. Carl Jensen. “I’m challenged by the thought that we as a local government would be deciding who we may be providing housing to and who we would not.”

The motion was voted down 5-1, with only Newton voting in its favour.

There may still be other options for real estate and health care: Central Saanich is set to meet soon with former Colwood mayor Dave Saunders, who is proposing that local municipalities for a society to run local medical spaces and use their power over developments to get more health facilities built. Read more on that proposal at The Westshore.

Memory care rezoning passes

Memory care facility (six-storey version) from WA Architects

Council passes a rezoning application for a six-storey memory care facility. “Space for people with dementia is only going to get more needed,” said Coun. Niall Paltiel. “I can’t see the need going away for this.”

By Jimmy Thomson

Westshore councils: Langford considers variance for future school

Langford councillors will consider whether to grant a height variance to allow the planned elementary school on Latoria Road to be up to four storeys. In June, the province committed $39.6 million in funding for the new school in the Sooke School District, which is expected to open in 2025.

This school is among three that are in the works for future years to help absorb the Westshore’s booming population—including an unexpected increase in young residents that is overwhelming existing school capacity

Other schools are currently being built for this year, and one of them has just been delayed. Langford’s Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School may not be ready to welcome students until November. More at The Westshore.

Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School under construction last fall. Photo: Zoë Ducklow / The Westshore

Cannabis permit and karate lease up for renewal

Clarity Cannabis’ three-year temporary use permit for its Hoffman Avenue store was originally granted in Oct. 2019. It was then re-issued in September 2021, along with identical permits for three other cannabis retailers, with amended hours of operation and signage permissions.

Westshore Kimura Shukokai Karate hopes to have the lease for its location in Westhills Arena at City Centre Park renewed before it expires Aug. 31.

Operator proposes deal with Langford as City Centre mezzanine costs approach $1 million

This week, Langford councillors will review a proposal from Performance Plus Hockey to cover the costs of the first phase of construction of the mezzanine level at City Centre Park recreation complex. The city’s 2022 parks budget allocated $500,000 for the project but a revised quote for construction from Verity Construction put the cost above $963,000 as of February.

Performance Plus Hockey currently manages and operates the city-owned facility and proposes to put up $400,000 for initial construction. In exchange it wants a 15-year contract to manage the space, after which the management and operations would be incorporated back into the City Centre contract.

Under the contract, the city would forgo rental and leasing revenue from the community rooms and work-out areas planned for the mezzanine until Performance Plus Hockey has recouped its $400,000 investment. After that, the city would get 10% of rental revenue and 60% of long-term lease revenue. Performance Plus Hockey anticipates net revenue of $70,000 per year from renting and leasing the space. That would see the company recover its investment in under six years.

Dust bylaw pitched

Coun. Lillian Szpak plans to table a notice of motion for a bylaw regulating dust.

By Shannon Waters

Highlands council: Fire dispatch and parks funding on agenda

A sparse agenda for the small community north of Langford, as the elected term approaches its end. The District of Highlands will save $3,400 to $3,800 annually over the next five years on its fire dispatching bill. A group of six communities that have a joint fire dispatching contract agreed to change the billing structure from a percentage based on population size to a charge per actual call volume.

Highlands council will also consider whether to approve the Capital Regional District’s application to borrow $25 million over five years to buy park land. To proceed with its bylaw authorizing the borrowing of that large sum, the CRD needs municipal consent from two-thirds of its 16 participating municipalities and electoral areas.

By Zoe Ducklow

Westshore election races updates

Andy MacKinnon, a three-term Metchosin councillor, has decided not to run for re-election this fall. Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, in power since 1987, has also announced he will not seek reelection. This leaves just three council seats with incumbents running.

Nick Dickinson-Wilde, a Sooke business owner and East Sooke resident, has announced he will run for Sooke council.

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