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Former Esquimalt pub site rezoned for 6-storey build despite neighbour concern

Change approved in a 5-2 vote to allow for 99-unit development public hearing
A rendering for Abstract Developments’ building expected to replace the former Gorge Pointe Pub on Tillicum Road. Following a public hearing on Monday (April 25), Esquimalt council approved the rezoning necessary for the project. (Courtesy of Abstract Developments)

While immediate neighbours were displeased with the project, a six-storey, 99-unit building will likely replace the former Gorge Pointe Pub site in Esquimalt.

The township’s council approved the site’s rezoning after a public hearing on Monday (April 25), where nearby residents expressed concern over the height, parking, traffic impacts and added density from Abstract Developments’ commercial and residential project.

The developer will now have to apply for a development permit. Abstract’s marketing manager Owen Rennison said they’re working on that now and the company hopes to break ground within the next year.

Neighbours from within a block of the 1075 Tillicum Rd. site had concerns over the development bringing more vehicles to an area where visitor parking already spills out into nearby residential streets. Others spoke out against visitors, customers and other vehicles using the laneway that serves as the sole access point to the site’s adjacent four-storey condos.

A smaller number of speakers supported the project because of the needed housing it would provide, along with the pedestrian improvements it’ll bring to the area and the community’s need for higher, more dense builds.

The rezoning was approved in a 5-2 council vote. Councillors were torn on the project as a whole, with those who ended up supporting it largely being swayed by the project adding housing along a major transportation corridor – while also aligning with the official community plan.

READ: Design changes to 6-storey, 99-unit proposal earns public hearing in Esquimalt

A covenant is expected to secure 100 bike parking spaces and every unit getting a membership for an onsite Modo vehicle. A wider sidewalk, street trees and other public realm improvements along Tillicum Road will also be included in the covenant.

Abstract was previously going to give a bus pass to every unit that opted out of a parking space. However, the developer on Monday committed to passes for every unit after a request from council.

In exchange for an increased density allowance, the developer would put nearly $110,000 towards active transportation and pedestrian improvements at or near the site.

Councillors who supported the project noted Tillicum Road’s traffic issues are a major focus of the township’s active transportation plan and the development would fit in well with the coming improvements.

The building’s 99 units would range from studios to three-bedroom spaces. Abstract told council on April 4 the larger units would be guaranteed one of the 89 parking stalls.

“We are very much looking forward to bringing these homes to Esquimalt,” Abstract’s Rennison said in an email.

READ: Saanich could follow in Victoria’s footsteps on streamlining affordable housing Follow us on Instagram. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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