Geanine Robey lives near the site of Abstract Development’s controversial plans to develop 1201 Fort St. and 1050 Pentrelew Place, the former site of the Victoria Truth Centre in an area many neighbours consider a park. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Controversial Rockland development sent back for review

Neighbours and council unconvinced by revised proposal for Fort Street development

Both Victoria City Council and some Rockland neighbours remain unconvinced by Abstract Development’s plans for the former Victoria Truth Centre. The City sent the proposal back for revisions.

Councillors agreed the most recent changes to the multi-phased 1201 Fort Street/1050 Pentrelew Place development plan were an improvement, but they were not satisfied the changes went far enough to protect old-growth trees and privacy of neighbours, and to provide amenities in what has long been used as a park. The density for the 94-unit project was also considered a problem, with the six- and four-storey condominium towers and ten townhomes being a drastic increase from the property’s current use, and that of those around it.

RELATED: Rockland neighbours remain unhappy with Fort Street project

Director of planning Jonathan Tinney answered questions about the height of the townhouses compared to the surrounding neighbourhood, saying they were not significantly taller than single family homes in the area.

In the audience, Geanine Robey laughs aloud. Another yells: “they’re 50 per cent taller!”

Robey is just one of many neighbours who filled council chambers Thursday morning, sitting in the gallery with matching red “Stop over-development” badges. She and other neighbours came to show their displeasure with, what one resident called, the “monster” development.

Robey, who has lived on Ormond Street across from Fort Street for over 12 years, said she is concerned about density, that the development will change the heritage character of the neighbourhood, and that it will remove what has been used for many years as a de facto park.

RELATED: Rockland rally planned to protest Victoria development

“What about the heritage corridor? What about the fact that this would be the most dominant development in the corridor?” she said. “The improvements to the townhouses, I agree, are good ones, but they’re still way too dominant given their imposing height and their massing.”

Robey added she was not opposed to developing the land all together, but hopes the neighbourhood’s heritage character can be preserved, and that the developer considers other possibilities that are not quite as large, including affordable units.

“We would like to see a village of multiplex family homes,” she said. “We don’t need more luxury condos. We don’t need luxury, three-storey townhouses with elevators, and we don’t need all the underground parking. We desperately need more affordable options.”

Coun. Geoff Young said in the meeting that some increase in density is appropriate and follows council’s general plan for the city, but the change from the current use is dramatic.

“There is, as Coun. Isitt pointed out, a pretty big difference between the density under the existing zoning as estimated by our planning staff at 6,100 sq.-metres, versus the over 10,000 that [Victoria’s Official Community Plan] foresees, and the 10,900 that is actually in front of us,” he said.

“That is a pretty significant increase in a traditional residential neighbourhood.”

The proposal was sent back to Abstract Development for revisions.


Victoria residents who live near the site the former Victoria Truth Centre sat in a packed committee of the whole meeting Thursday morning to hear an update on Abstract Development’s plans to build condos and townhomes on the property at 1201 Fort St. and 1050 Pentrelew Place. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Just Posted

Well-known former B.C. radio personality and politician Barrie Clark dies

Clark remembered as a fair-minded ‘statesman,’ who always saw the big picture

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Saanich Police speed reader board stolen

Traffic safety device taken from the 4700 block of Interurban Road

Teenager target of indecent exposure at Willows Beach in Oak Bay

Suspect exposed his genitals to a teenage girl Saturday

Group calls for limited access to backcountry roads near Jordan River

Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association says closures would limit misuse of woods

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Police officers injured in Trans Mountain pipeline arrests: RCMP

One suffered a head injury after being kicked, another hurt a knee, and a third hurt a hand

Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Premier addresses B.C. Teachers Federation AGM ahead of contract negotiations starting next year

Reader Photos: First day of spring around British Columbia

Our loyal viewers sent us some of their favourite Spring photos from all corners of the province

Human remains found in Campbell River in February under investigation as a homicide

In mid-February, RCMP announced that human remains had been located in a… Continue reading

Five Canadian kids charged with making school threats

Police say online threats are on the rise

Not even Ellen DeGeneres can get Virtue, Moir to say they’re more than friends

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday

Victoria partners on ‘Stigma-Free Zone’ event tonight

Free event will see discussions around mental illness and reducing existing stigma in the community

RCMP warn public to stop pouring gas on fires after three incidents

Police responded to three recent incidents that sent seven people to hospital

Most Read