Revisions not enough for residents around Oak Bay Lodge

Council defers decision on Lodge replacement to Oct. 24 to allow for more consultation

Changes to the proposed Garry Oaks Village

Changes to the proposed Garry Oaks Village

Last-minute changes to plans for a $140-million replacement for Oak Bay Lodge proved inadequate for the dozens of neighbours who showed up Tuesday to oppose it at council.

Baptist Housing proposes to replace the current facility with a larger incarnation, to be known as Garry Oaks Village. On Oct. 3, council directed the non-profit social service provider to lessen the impact of the building on immediate neighbours.

In response, Baptist Housing revised the plan for the site, shifting the entire building north by six metres and reconfiguring the four wings of the facility away from Hampshire and Cranmore roads.

“In our discussions at the last committee of the whole meeting, council (asked) if we (reduce) the setback along Cadboro Bay Road could we pull (the building) away from the homes along Hampshire?” said Dayle Krahn, chief property and development officer for Baptist Housing.

“And we said ‘yeah we could.’ We’ve tried to deal with the concerns the residents had before.”

To address traffic concerns, the proposed Cranmore entrance has been designated for emergency vehicles only.

The kitchen was also moved west, away from houses on Hampshire Road.

Moving the building means it will stand slightly shorter than the former proposal – at 44 metres rather than 45 – because the land slopes downward at the site’s north end.

The building would still stand 5.47 m taller than the current lodge – an unacceptable height according to all but one of the speakers at Tuesday night’s meeting.

While most complimented the various changes to the plan, they said they didn’t go far enough.

“Six storeys, and even five, are imposing and seriously impact the neighbourhood,” said Lois Bender, who lives on Cranmore.

“The proposal to increase the number of (complex care) beds to 320 is driving the whole design in an unsuitable way. The result is a towering, massive building envelope (that is) simply too high and too big for this small, oddly shaped piece of property.”

Hampshire resident John Rankin questioned the need for 40 extra beds.

“That number has not been addressed enough,” he said. “That’s why we have a municipal government … Don’t be sidetracked by the rush of the applicant.”

That rush, defined by some at the meeting as a threat, is fueled by the promise of $80 million in upfront financing, pending project approval, explained Rudi van den Broek, chief project officer with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Garry Oaks Village, together with the new Mount View Campus of Care in Saanich, will replace 580 of the health authority’s worst complex-care beds, van den Broek said.

“If this portion of the project doesn’t go forward, then the whole thing will be stopped until it can be rebuilt from the ground up. If that involves very much delay at all, then the financing will stop.”

But Coun. Tara Ney questioned why the Saanich facility couldn’t take on more beds, to reduce the number required at the new facility in Oak Bay.

Mount View is slated to have 260 complex care beds in a seven-storey building.

The need to densify found a sympathetic ear with Theatre Alley resident Jim Kirk.

“In urban living, six storeys is not very high,” he said. “The other issue that people are focusing on ad infinitum is density. The babies are born, the people are there, you have to densify. It’s time to grow up.”

Oak Bay council, however, felt the applicant needed to do more to work within the community.

“I think we’re getting closer to the answer,” said Coun. Nils Jensen, who strongly recommended that Baptist Housing engage in consultations with the neighbourhood before returning to council Oct. 24.

He added that unlike other large projects council has dealt with in past, such as the new Oak Bay High, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Carlton House seniors complex, the tight timeline puts council under pressure to make a decision.

– with files from Erin Cardone

rholmen@vicnews.com

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

Just Posted

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

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 March 2

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Most Read