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Public hearing on Monday for proposed 105-unit apartment in Esquimalt’s West Bay area

Rezoning is required for the six-storey development that would replace five properties
A rendering for a proposed six-storey, 105-unit apartment building that would replace five properties in Esquimalt’s West Bay neighbourhood. (Photo courtesy of Wexford Developments)

The public will get to weigh in on a proposed six-storey, 105-unit apartment building that would replace five properties in Esquimalt’s West Bay neighbourhood.

A public hearing will be held during Esquimalt’s Monday (Nov. 15) council meeting as Wexford Developments’ proposal would require three West Bay Terrace and two Dunsmuir Road properties to be rezoned to accommodate a comprehensive development district.

Wexford initially proposed a wider five-storey building with 125 units. After feedback from Esquimalt staff and the public, the updated application includes a reduced number of units, slightly more parking, and a slimmer design where the top two floors are set back from the fourth storey – so that they’re less noticeable from the street.

The majority (64) of the 105 apartments will be 540 square-foot one-bedroom units, with the remaining units including smaller studios and larger two- and three-bedrooms.

The developer plans to keep three mature trees that are on the southwest corner of the site and will replace all removed trees, along with its planned additional landscaping. Wexford has met staff’s request to reduce the parkade lot coverage to 80 per cent to allow for significant plantings.

The development would have 87 parking spaces, with seven of those reserved for visitors. Staff recommended the application include at least a ratio of 0.9 parking spaces per residential unit, but in its updated proposal, Wexford has upped its ratio from 0.79 to 0.82. All parking stalls will be electrified.

The development would include a free year of Modo Car Share and a one-year bus pass for residents, an internal bike-share program, and about 130 bike parking spots. The developer will also give residents up t0 $500 for an electric bike or up to $250 for a regular bicycle.

Wexford said it will go above and beyond B.C.’s requirements for compensation and notice for the 20 residents of the site’s five impacted properties. The existing tenants will also be paid for moving expenses and be offered spots in the new apartment at a discounted rate for the first year of their lease.

A staff report from September flagged the application not including any affordable units as an issue. While presenting to council that month, the developer said the impacted homes are market-level units that have low rents due to decades of deferred maintenance, causing poor conditions - and added that two are “unlivable.”

Details on how to participate in the public hearing are available in the meeting’s agenda.

READ: 20-storey hotel approved for downtown Victoria

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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