Proposed development sparks look at changes to Esquimalt’s view of West Bay

Community input sought in development of design guidelines

The West Bay neighbourhood of Esquimalt is the focus of proposed new urban design guidelines meant to shape a clear, long-term vision that balances the needs and desires of residents, business owners and developers.

“The problem is the (current official community plan) design guidelines for West Bay are the same as the design guidelines for some of the property along Esquimalt Road,” said Bill Brown, Esquimalt’s director of development services. “West Bay is something different. In my opinion, it deserves its very own unique set of design guidelines.”

With council’s approval, Brown developed a set of draft guidelines in recent months in response to a development proposal for a 10-storey residential tower with ground-floor commercial space. It would be located on a triangle-shaped parcel of land at the meeting of Head, Gore and Lyall streets.

It’s not unusual for municipalities to make changes to their OCPs in the face of active development applications, Brown said. “There’s nothing for us to adjudicate (the current) application against. A building of that size is going to have substantial impacts on the neighbourhood.”

Prominent West Bay property and business owner Mark Lindholm is behind the proposal. It has generated outrage from neighbouring business owners and residents, who say it does not fit in with the commercial marine village feel of the neighbourhood, home to single-family and float residences and small marine businesses.

“This project is a major departure from that direction,” said Carole Witter, who lives in the neighbourhood and is co-owner of Hidden Harbour Marine Centre.

Her comments echo statements made by the West Bay Neighbourhood Association. “Not only is it a major departure, it is actually a threat to what exists here,” she said.

Lindholm did not respond to the News‘ requests to speak to the matter.

Among Witter’ other concerns were that the area be protected as a natural resource, one that serves as a waterfront recreational destination. She added that the proposed high-density tower is out of scale with the current neighbourhood.

For that reason, she supports a clear vision for West Bay in Esquimalt’s OCP.

The community has until July 15 to provide feedback on the proposed West Bay urban design guidelines and can do so by calling Brown at 250-414-7146. Another public input meeting will be held in the fall, before council considers the proposed OCP amendment.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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

Just Posted

The Habitat Acquisition Trust has secured a biodiverse 23-hectare parcel of land in Highlands through a donation from Anne and Jim Ganns, who owned the property for 50 years. (Photo by Jeremy Da Silva/Courtesy Habitat Acquisition Trust)
23-hectare land donation in Highlands extends permanent habitat protection

Anne and Jim Ganns pass on property purchased 50 years ago to the Habitat Acquisition Trust

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

Dog owners walk along Fleming Beach on a sunny day (pre-COVID). (Black Press Media file photo)
Deadline nears for licensing your dog in Esquimalt

Pet owners have until Feb. 28 to renew, purchase or transfer licences for 2021

Ownership of SISȻENEM — also known as Halibut Island located east off Sidney Island — has transferred to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council after The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) had purchased the island for $1.55 million. (The Land Conservancy/Submitted)
SISȻENEM (Halibut Island) transfers to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council under historic agreement

The Land Conservancy purchased the 9.67-acre island for $1.55 million with help from unnamed donor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

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

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Most Read