Esquimalt residents sound parking alarm

Township council denies developer seeking relaxed parking rules

Armed with a petition of about 14 names, Esquimalt resident Kevin Youck told council a proposed residential-commercial building would have created a parking nightmare.

Youck told council Nov. 7 that street parking on Comerford Street and Carlisle Avenue would have been at a premium if the proposed four-storey building had been approved.

“I’m not opposed to change but the change has to be managed responsibly,” the Comerford Street resident said.

Developer Leonard Cole asked council to relax the township’s parking regulations to allow 20 ground-floor parking spaces instead of 53, including visitor and business spots.

In recent weeks, he cut the number of proposed units from 43 to 39, and promised to provide one-year transit passes or Victoria Car Share Co-op memberships, as well as parking for bicycles and scooters.

Cole said on-street parking would not be impacted since amenities are within walking distance. And, since singles would live in the 330- to 430-square-foot suites, there would be fewer cars, he added.

But council sided with residents, despite liking the look of the building and its green features.

“This is an opportunity, I thought, to test the waters and to stand at the brink of moving to expand our customer and our tax base,” said Coun. Lynda Hundleby, adding that it appears too soon to provide accommodation for people who seek out alternative ways to get around.

Coun. Bruce McIldoon was more critical of the suite sizes and parking limitations.

“You control density through parking and the parking proves that this building is far too dense for this area,” he said.