Royal Bay secondary

Royal Bay secondary

Decision on Royal Bay plan likely to come soon in Colwood

Massive, multi-neighbourhood development the centrepiece of revamped area plan

Residents living around the proposed Royal Bay project in Colwood worry that “unneighbourly” site preparation may be an indication of the developer’s commitment to future work on the project.

Changes to the City of Colwood’s 1996 Royal Bay area plan – which would amend the city’s official community plan – passed third reading last week following a short public hearing. The final vote on the changes could come as early as the June 23 council meeting.

Councillors heard a variety of complaints at the hearing, with residents citing everything from ground-shaking work on the former gravel pit causing cracks in foundations and retaining walls, to unabated clouds of dust wafting through neighbourhoods and crews ignoring noise bylaws.

Mayor Carol Hamilton, who didn’t answer questions at the public hearing, as third reading calls for no council discussion, said she understands what residents are going through.

“I think they’re feeling a little left out of the loop,” she said. “For the long-term residents, they’ve been putting up with issues around that area for a long time, not necessarily what this development is creating, but the years of the gravel pits and the trucks and the dirt and the noise.”

After the gravel pit was closed by Lehigh in 2007, there was a break from activity on the site for more than five years. With massive amounts of earth moving done in the past year and the new Royal Bay secondary under construction on the property, the site has been as busy as the gravel pit days.

Paul Fenske, principal with design and urban planning firm Ekistics, which is working with the city on behalf of developer B.C. Investment Management Corporation, said bcIMC chose to go full speed ahead on the necessary site upgrades to avoid subjecting nearby residents to a much longer dusty, noisy process.

“The site was left in an unfinished and unstable state,” he said of what Lehigh left bcIMC, which bought the property in 2012. The company spent an estimated $25 million on earth-moving, regrading, managing erosion and stormwater runoff in 2013, Fenske said, with the idea of completing much of that work sooner than later.

Addressing an argument by resident Bob McLean of Addlington Place that a grass hydroseeding initiative done early this year to cut down on the dust was plowed under after a short time, Fenske reiterated that the plan is to get the site work done as quickly as possible.

“It’s unfortunate that (bcIMC’s) intent in trying to be a good neighbour has been perceived as not being a good neighbour,” he said.

Not everyone focused entirely on the negative aspects of the work at the hearing.

Roger Conrod of Perimeter Place, whose wife has asthma and has been struggling with the dust, nonetheless noted, “you have to give a bit to gain a bit.” He said the developers have “done a good job in general,” but need to pay more attention to access and egress around the site.

Sandra McLean voiced optimism over what the project might look like 20 to 25 years down the road, but said the city wasn’t doing much to follow up on current bylaw infractions. “I want to know that the city’s going to be a good neighbour,” she said.

A bcIMC representative committed to better communication around plans for the property and reminded those in the audience that “this is just the beginning of a much longer process.”

The approval of changes to the OCP does not preclude close scrutiny of each element of the development plan, the first phase of which would be Meadow, a collection of single family detached homes that borders Metchosin Road and abuts the high school property.

Overall, the Royal Bay proposal calls for 2,300 housing units to be constructed at full buildout on the roughly 466 acres of undeveloped land remaining, ranging from single family dwellings to apartments. There would be two commercial hubs and a set of distinct neighbourhoods.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

What’s up with Capital City Centre?

• The City of Colwood is expecting hear the results of a report by troubled Capital City Centre developer League Group on a restructuring proposal, mandated under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act.

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton wondered whether the company’s plan to liquidate some of its assets might allow it to resume construction on the major residential and commercial project at Colwood Corners, which was excluded from sale at least until the end of this month.

“It’s still a fantastic site and it’s got a lot of work already underway,” she said. “I think for the right person coming in, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of things, they could virtually hit the ground running in fairly short order.”

Just Posted

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read