Parking concerns won’t stall affordable housing project in Saanich

Council approves 73 units for low to moderate income-earners near Uptown

Despite concerns from neighbourhood representatives, council’s committee-of-the-whole approved a development permit with variances for height and parking for a regional housing project near Uptown shopping centre by the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC)

“The nature of the project of providing housing for those who are probably some of the most disadvantaged for getting housing – adults with disabilities, working singles, and seniors just in general – make it very hard not to support,” said Coun. Colin Plant, who called the CRHC one of the region’s great “success stories.”

It plans to build a four-storey housing development with 73 units under the name of Westview as part of the Mount View Heights Campus of Care, which already includes the seven-storey, 260-unit residential care facility at 3814 Carey Road named the Heights, as well as two other nearby facilities.

Carol Hamill, president of the Mount View Colquitz Community Association, acknowledged the larger importance of the project. “Obviously, this is a very important amenity to the Greater Saanich community, as are the other buildings of the Campus of Care,” she said. “However, the specific neighbours to this site have a paid high price in the loss of quality of life, particularly, with regards to traffic, parking, light pollution, and that very particular noise, which comes from the [seven-storey] Heights building.”

The noise stems from the Height’s complex mechanical and air-conditioning systems located on its roof.

While Hamill touched on a range of issues during her remarks, she warned the new Westview building would further compound the local parking crunch, a phenomenon dating back to 2009, when council granted the Campus of Care project “overly optimistic” parking variances. “It can be argued that affordable housing may warrant generous parking variances, but the cumulative effect is still evident to us,” she said.

Without blaming the specific project, Hamill said Saanich has so far failed to resolve the Height’s light and noise pollution, despite promises dating back years.

Because of its status as a health care building, the Height’s internal lighting stays on 24 hours a day. Hamill said that has never been a problem for the community. It is instead the building’s exterior lights and lights coming from the rooms that contribute to the light pollution, said Hamill.

“Our point is that thee promises of development zone documents do not appear to carry any weight, or to be in any way enforceable,” she said. She also warned council that the community would not tolerate further parking variances, with one more component of the larger Campus of Care project coming forward.

Coun. Fred Haynes acknowledged those concerns and Saanich needs to look at parking throughout the area.

Project manager Paul Kitson said the complex checks off several boxes, because of its proximity to Uptown shopping centre and various transportation routes. He said valuable input from the community improved the final design of the project, and promised that the corporation would honour the design, following questions from council.

“As a public entity, it’s important to maintain a level of reputation in the community,” said Kitson. “We already have one development there, and it will just look poorly upon the CRD, if we did not honour our commitment.”

Kitson also said CRHC would also work with Saanich staff to help mitigate parking issues.

As for noise and light pollution, architect Margaret Newell said the physical arrangement of the Westview project aims to minimize any light pollution. As for the noise pollution, the Westview project features none of the complex features that the Heights require because of its health care status.

Newell said the Westview project will neither improve nor worsen the current level of noise pollution in the area, when asked how its physical presence will change noise patterns in the neighbourhood.

Council’s approval of the Westview project deepens relations between the CRHC and Saanich.

Formed in 1983, CRHC currently operates 45 properties, with almost half found in Saanich.

Just Posted

Legal action against B.C. specualtion tax a last resort

Group of Arizona home owners feel they’ve been swept up in an attack on land speculators

Rock the Rink gives youth once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Winning band will get to play a set at Rock the Shores

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Victoria beaches 1,560 pounds lighter after Surfrider cleanup

200 people came out to clean the beach on Earth Day

LGBTQ advocates turn Victoria SOGI protest into dance party

Counter-protest outnumbers anti-SOGI activists on lawn of B.C. legislature

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

B.C. bill aims to keep Indigenous kids in communities, out of care

Changes to Child, Family and Community Service Act could connect MCFD, Indigenous communities

Condo contract rules target B.C. property flippers

Regulations to prevent property transfer tax evasion

Most Read