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New 15-unit Oak Bay building will finally break ground after decade of trying

Project had previously been rejected by council
Developer rendering of the planned Quest condo building at 2326 Oak Bay Ave. (Courtesy Large & Co.)

A decade of work has Kim Colpman finally hoping to break ground on a new 15-unit Oak Bay building next summer.

Currently housing a single-family home, the site at 2326 Oak Bay Ave. is close to the village and flanked by multi-unit buildings with a single-family home on the property behind. The site is designated in the official community plan as multi-unit residential.

Both Oak Bay’s advisory design panel and advisory planning commission supported the proposal during summer meetings.

“We’re super, super happy to be going forward and finally be able to bring some of these very desperately needed units to the market,” said Colpman, CEO and property development director Large & Co.

Colpman credits a provincial push for housing as the nudge needed to move the project over the threshold for council. The project had been rejected twice before by previous councils.

READ ALSO: Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay must build 10K housing units in 5 years

Oak Bay is on a list of the first 10 communities expected to deliver housing in the next five years under the provincial Housing Supply Act. Oak Bay is tasked with delivering 664 units. Victoria (4,902) and Saanich (4,610) are also on the first list.

Her phone’s been ringing off the hook with people asking about getting into the building. While that’s not feasible so early in the process, it’s an indicator.

“The fact that this many people are asking speaks to how much this type of housing is needed,” she said.

Council unanimously supported the proposal, approving the required rezoning during a special council meeting Oct. 10.

“This is very much – to my view – the location for this type of development,” Coun. Andrew Appleton said during the meeting.

He noted it is identified as multiunit in the official community plan and is close to amenities such as transit, shopping and recreation centres.

“It has the very real possibility of keeping people better attached to their social structures they’ve built up here in Oak Bay,” he said. “I hear consistently from long-term residents of Oak Bay who would like to have a different housing option and are not able to find one in Oak Bay and are forced to leave the community. And I don’t want those folks to have to leave the community.”

READ ALSO: Public ‘angst’ remains over 4-storey proposal for Oak Bay Avenue

While the vote was unanimous, Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted that blasting remains a concern for residents, some of whom were among the 16 or so people who spoke during the meeting. She vowed to be at the “beck and call” for those with worries or concerns.

“The onus is on us with this building going ahead to make sure our residents are protected,” she said.

While Colpman admits the industry is a busy place at the moment, she holds out hope for breaking ground in summer 2024.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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