Community members lined up to share their opinions on the Christie Point redevelopment proposal with View Royal council Tuesday night. (Katherine Engqvist/News Gazette staff)

Realstar agrees to grandfather rent for 33 units

Christie Point redevelopment proposal still met with mixed opinions at public hearing

Although crowds were not what many expected Tuesday night at the public hearing for the Christie Point redevelopment proposal, the meeting still went on for roughly six hours, wrapping up shortly before midnight.

Roughly 200 people were in attendance at the Songhees Wellness Centre, with approximately 55 standing up to voice their opinions, some taking that opportunity twice. Roughly one third of those who spoke were Christie Point residents.

The redevelopment proposal from Toronto-based Realstar Group was met with mixed reviews, with most speaking against the project.

“I’m concerned about the residents of Christie Point … I haven’t lived there a long time but I’ve lived there long enough to make some good acquaintances,” said 82-year-old Keith Bamfield.

He noted that like himself, many of the residents are seniors and this process has caused them a lot of stress, possibly resulting in adverse effects on their health. “My heart goes out to all the folks I call neighbours and friends … I don’t think it’s very fair.”

A common theme of “too high, too dense” quickly emerged from those opposed. Others, including a number of Saanich residents, also pointed to environmental concerns as well as the impact this project would have on neighbouring properties’ views and values.

But there were also many in attendance who supported the project, some of them Christie Point residents.

Marie Denton has lived there for 13 years and during a break she said when she received the first letter from Realstar she immediately asked for first refusal on her unit because she wanted to return once the redevelopment was complete.

“It’s my home,” she said. “I’ve worked hard and I’ve saved.”

She said that she’s not alone in supporting the proposal, but noted that many have been cautious about voicing their opinions with such a vocal group opposed to the project. “It’s been not very nice there because it’s been us versus them,” she said.

Other supporters travelled from Vancouver to speak of the positive impact this development could have on the local rental market with purpose-built units.

The meeting opened with View Royal staff and representatives from Realstar making presentations. Both highlighted some of the changes to the proposal that have been made since the June 13 View Royal council meeting. The most noteworthy was the agreement to grandfather rent controlled units for tenants that have lived in the development for 10 or more years. That translates to roughly 20 per cent of current residents or 33 units. If a resident in one of those units does not return to the development their unit will be offered to another resident, regardless of whether they have lived there for more than a decade.

“We’ve listened carefully and worked to address concerns,” noted Heather Grey-Wolf, Realstar vice-president. “This isn’t a build and exit strategy for Realstar … we recognize we are redeveloping people’s homes and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Christie Point resident Lisa Cole noted “they’re off to a good start … but in reality 80 per cent of residents are still falling through the cracks.”

Another change was a lowering of the maximum height request to 24.5 metres, with a maximum of six above ground storeys.

As some residents were quick to point during the hearing, if council rejects this proposal, Realstar could redevelop the site to meet the current zoning requirements and would not be required to offer residents the same compensation package or provide the proposed $750,000 amenity contribution.

Staff also reiterated the proposal is consistent with the Town’s official community plan, as amendments can be made to the restrictions in that plan.

Council did not make a decision at the meeting. The project will likely be on the agenda for the July 4 meeting. But as Mayor David Screech noted, the public will not be able to weigh in on this project again until after council has considered it.

katie@goldstramgazette.com

Christie PointView Royal

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

Just Posted

VicPD find used, uncapped needle tied to handrail in Beacon Hill Park

Officers believe the needle was put there with the intent to harm someone

Saanich Peninsula plugs into EV ownership

Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents

Saanich landfill gets used oil and antifreeze dropoff centre upgrades

BC Used Oil Management Association oversees upgrades, two new facilities in province

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read