An adjusted proposal to the property at899 Esquimalt Rd. sees the main tower pared down to 10 storeys from 12 (File contributed/ Lexi Developments)

Proposed 12-storey building in Esquimalt pared down to 10, medical clinic no longer prioritized

Esquimalt council heard from Lexi Development about proposed changes to plans

The Township of Esquimalt opted to rescind previous plans for a proposed 12-storey development at 899 Esquimalt Rd. in favour for a slightly smaller version.

In July, councillors voted for proponent Lexi Development to seek more public input on its proposed project before anything could go beyond the second reading.

The 12-storey project originally required a height variance, as the official community plan caps the height at six storeys. As an incentive for this height variance, Lexi Development proposed allotting the first two floors, up to 4,000 sq. ft. of the development, for a 24/7 urgent primary care centre.

READ MORE: Township of Esquimalt puts 12-storey development on hold

Lexi committed to building the site, finding contracted staff, and acting as a landlord for the centre. The covenant also promised to provide short-term clinic solutions, including possible mobile clinics, until the project is built, as well as the promise to build a kayak dock in the Westbay Marina.

Additionally, the clinic was set to be the primary purpose of the building, where contracts had to be set before pre sales for the upstairs condos began. It promised a 10-year subsidized rent for the space.

After online and in-person public outreach, including a meeting where approximately 100 people attended, Lexi Development has altered its plans.

It will now put forward a 10-storey building – a difference of 10.2 metres – and re-prioritize the housing versus the clinic, as well as no longer being the landlord of the clinic. Instead, Lexi would provide a sum of $395,000 to the Township – the equivalent value of 10 years of subsidized rent – so that the Township could inject that forward to general practitioners.

ALSO READ: Experts suggest Esquimalt explores hub-and-spoke medical clinic model

“Previously the main use would be the primary medical, secondary residential, but there were a lot of legal flaws and gray areas in that sentence,” said Babak Nikbakhtan, CEO of Lexi.

The gray areas he alluded to included the inability to begin pre sales, and the risk of doctors leaving affecting the rights of strata owners.

Lexi would also no longer provide mobile clinics or a kayak dock, offering $54,000 and and $150,000 respectively in lieu. It would also put forward $30,000 for the installation of two pedestrian-activated crosswalks.

Despite the smaller stature, more units would be installed, totalling 69 smaller units.

Coun. Tim Morrison was most vocal about the changes.

“The whole point was to make sure you have a medical clinic,” Morrison said. “I just get really concerned because I myself said to residents that ‘don’t worry, they can’t do the project until they have the medical centre in place’ and now that’s no longer accurate.”

Morrison also voiced concern about the change in units and parking spaces.

“I’m trying to understand the logic of decreasing the height but increasing density overall,” Morrison said.

Coun. Lynda Hundleby felt that the premise of offering a clinic space wasn’t good enough.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

“This is just a space with no promise of physicians,” she said. ” I appreciate using the new medical model… but there’s no guarantee. Other spaces in the Township have been used by doctors, but no one is coming to staff them.”

Hundleby abstained from voting.

Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins said further input could be provided if the proposal was sent to a public hearing, and most other councillors agreed.

In a vote, where Couns. Meagan Brame and Jacob Helliwell opposed, council voted to rescind the original second reading, approve this variety of the second reading and pass the proposal along to a public hearing at an undetermined date.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

developmentEsquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Police watchdog reviewing Victoria police-involved crash

VicPD officer collided with another car in downtown intersection

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

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

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read