Colwood residents voiced mostly opposition to a proposed development on the border of Havenwood Park during a public hearing for a rezoning bylaw that would pave the way for a pair of six-storey buildings.
The proposed project involves two properties straddling Veterans Memorial Parkway and if built, would include 280 residential units. At 3460 Veterans Memorial Pkwy., a six-storey building would feature 180 units, while the building across the road, at 3461 Veterans Memorial Pkwy., is slated for 100 apartments as well as 1,394 square metres of commercial space.
The existing zoning was created in 2014 to allow for a previous development to build 22 single-family homes.
BC-Alta Development Ltd. made its rezoning application in December 2020 and submitted an updated plan in May 2021.
Twenty-four written submissions were received by the city ahead of the public hearing Thursday (March 24), and the hybrid in-person and virtual meeting ran for two and a half hours, featuring presentations by representatives of the developer and Colwood residents.
John English, president of the Royal Bay Homeowners Association, submitted comments from the association voicing its opposition to the proposal on the grounds it does not fit in with Colwood’s Official Community Plan.
“The City of Colwood’s updated OCP clearly identifies preserving and protecting Colwood’s parks, and natural areas are to be treated as important goals by the city,” wrote English. “Havenwood Park is exactly the kind of cherished, natural area that Colwood citizens had in mind when they strongly urged the city to identify these goals and objectives within its updated OCP.”
Residents also shared concerns around the environmental impacts the development would have on the neighbouring park, the traffic impacts increased densification would have on the neighbourhood and questioned the amount of affordable or rental housing the project would add to the community. While the majority of public input on the proposal was against it, some residents such as Kyle Taylor, voiced their support.
“As a Colwood resident who lives fairly close to this development site, regularly uses and enjoys Havenwood park, and has zero beneficial interest in the project itself, I wholeheartedly support this type of densification within our community — particularly from a housing supply and affordability standpoint. Furthermore, this project is located along a main arterial road and includes what I believe are meaningful measures to minimize its impact on the immediate natural environment.”
Thursday’s public hearing followed council’s earlier approval of the first two readings by a 4-3 vote at a Feb. 14 meeting, with Couns. Cynthia Day, Doug Kobayashi and Stewart Parkinson opposed. A vote on the third reading – and adoption – of the bylaw amendment will be held at a later date, and if adopted, applications for development and building permits would follow.