Oak Bay gives Clive apartment redevelopment green light

Current eight-unit, two storey building replaced with a 17-unit, three storey rental building

Redeveloping the Clive apartment building is a go after Oak Bay council voted six to one in favour of the project after a packed public hearing on Tuesday.

Almost 50 of the 200 in attendance addressed council during the three-hour public hearing held at Monterey Centre. The vast majority spoke in favour of the project, which will see the current eight-unit, two storey building replaced with a 17-unit, three storey one. A fourth and final reading is expected next month, ensuring the units are for rentals only, are available to families and that no units are rented to car-owning tenants once all parking stalls are allocated.

Developer Nicole Roberts first proposed redeveloping the Clive in December 2012. The Oak Bay native expected resistance and to negotiate with neighbours, but this particular project has been the most intense for the experienced developer, who has primarily worked in Arizona.

“I expected it would be an uphill battle,” Roberts said. “I grew up in Oak Bay and I believe in investing in it. I do know residents love Oak Bay because many harken back to yesteryears, but this is a needed change to our community.”

Roberts expects to start construction in six months and hopes to have the new Clive completed in 15 months.

The original Clive proposal was a 23-unit building with 13 parking stalls and setback variances around the property. The new building will still require those variances, but they have been modified in an effort to lessen its impact on neighbouring properties.

Andrew Moyer has a background in urban planning and is a co-owner of Ottavio Bakery, which is located next to the Clive. He told council he was initially concerned with the impact of the redevelopment to his business, but eventually realized the project will benefit the village.

“Change is scary and we’d be the most affected,” Moyer said. “But change in the long run is a good thing.

“It’s going to be great for the municipality of Oak Bay and good for the avenue and businesses too.”

A number of speakers mentioned the need for modern and decently sized rental units, which are in short supply in the community.

“My wife and I moved out of Oak Bay because we couldn’t find what we wanted,” said Rob Hunter, who owns Devon Properties, a property management company.

“This will help keep families connected,” said Nicole Smith, who spoke about the difficulty of trying to find a rental unit six years ago when she moved back to Oak Bay. “We need to have a healthy community with different housing options.”

Patrick Skilling was in the minority as he spoke against the project.

“The reason why people chose to live in Oak Bay is because it’s different and guarded of what is built here,” Skilling said. “This (Clive) building is being crammed on a small lot.

“This will be known as Jenson’s folly if this goes forward.”

Coun. John Herbert was the lone councillor to vote against the project.

“It requires too big of a variance, it’s too large and it’s coming on at the wrong moment as the Official Community Plan comes along,” Herbert said, before voting.

However, the rest of council spoke in favour, including Mayor Nils Jenson.

“It’s a good project,” Jenson said, explaining he doesn’t think parking will be a problem and that the new Clive will benefit the village and meet a need for more housing options in the community. “It’s change, it’s important and it’s appropriate for that place.”