Proposed condo project tweaked amid parking worries

Esquimalt mayor touts need for housing of shipyard workers, trades students

Esquimalt council is revisiting a proposed condominium development that sparked a neighbourhood’s outrage last year.

For the second time developer Leonard Cole is asking the township for permission to develop a ground-floor triplex into a four-storey condominium building with 34 living units and one ground-floor commercial space at 521-529 Comerford St.

His vision, which he presented at a recent committee-of-the-whole meeting, has been tweaked to address parking concerns raised by council as well as residents living near the site.

Last November, council rejected Cole’s proposal amid worries the future building would not provide enough parking spaces for residents. Several homeowners along Comerford Street and Carlisle Avenue worried that street parking would be at a premium.

Cole’s revamped proposal includes eight fewer living units. As such, he is now asking the township to accommodate his plan to provide six visitor parking spaces, instead of the required 12. His site plan also includes 22 residential parking spaces, down from the required 45 spaces.

“I’m very pleased to see you’ve come back and that you’ve made those adjustments that we’ve requested,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins. “I’m hopeful that the community is going to see them as enough of an adjustment.”

The proposal comes at an opportune time with the upcoming construction of a new marine trade school at neighbouring Songhees Nation, and a hiring boon at the Victoria Shipyards, she said.

“They’re going to need a place to stay,” Desjardins said. “We need people, (Victoria Shipyards) needs workers, and we need housing for those people.”

Next steps for the project include the township notifying residents, who live within 50 metres of the property, about the proposal, and scheduling a public hearing on the issue.

Cole said if council approves the project, construction could begin this summer and be completed for summer 2013.