Despite facing a second public outcry over limited parking at a proposed condominium development, Esquimalt council has sided with progress.
About 50 residents, some in favour and some against a development to be built at the corner of Comerford Street and Carlisle Avenue, packed council chambers Monday night.
After being denied a development permit for a proposed mixed-used, four-storey condominium building last November, Victoria developer Leonard Cole cut the number of living units from 43 to 35 to improve the parking ratio.
His design now includes six visitor spaces, instead of the 12 the township typically requires, and 22 residential spots, down from 45 spaces.
Accompanying his paperwork was a list of 63 names of people who support his plans.
“We believe that moving forward into our post-carbon economy, this building is likely to be there for 70 years,” Bill Brown, Esquimalt’s new director of development services, told council.
There is evidence “our car-oriented society is starting to decline,” he said, suggesting that the parking restrictions this project poses today won’t be an issue in the future.
Council agreed and unanimously approved Cole’s project.
Coun. Lynda Hundleby acknowledged residents’ parking concerns, but said there may be other parking opportunities in the future with the development of the Esquimalt Village Plan.
More young people today aren’t reliant on vehicles to get around, she added.
“We are looking at a new way of thinking,” Hundleby said. “I’m glad to see that Esquimalt is willing to look at that and consider this, because I think it’s the way of our future.”
Comerford Street resident Kevin Youck conceded that in 50 to 75 years there likely won’t be the same parking pressures or such a heavy reliance on vehicles.
“But we’re not 50 to 75 years down the road right now,” he said. “I’m concerned with what’s going to happen this year, next year, 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road.”
Youck submitted a list with the names of 15 homeowners in the neighbourhood who are also worried that limited parking at the new building will result in fewer parking places along nearby side streets.
“I wonder where all these vehicles will go,” he said.
Work at the site at 521-529 Comerford St., where a single-level triplex is currently located, will likely begin this summer, Cole said. He hopes to wrap up construction by summer 2013.