Colwood council has passed final reading on an amendment to its Official Community Plan.
The newly passed Royal Bay Area Plan amendment green lights developer B.C. Investment Management Corporation to move density and commercial development off the waterfront back into the central area on the former gravel pit site along Metchosin Road.
“What they want to do is create something more centrally located as far as the commercial aspects, as opposed to only on the waterfront, so it was more accessible to school and communities,” said Coun. Shari Lukens. “They wanted to create a hub in the centre of the development as opposed to just at the waterfront.”
The 2,300-unit housing development that may one day be home to 7,000 residents, is currently underway with land being prepared for two subdivisions, phase 1 and phase 1A, consisting of 92 and 17 single family residential lots, respectively. The lot will also feature the new Royal Bay high school, which is slated to open in September 2015.
“I think it is exceptional for our community, a great opportunity. It is going to be a destination for people … with the integration of the high school and the various types of communities they are going to build out,” Lukens said.
“There is an opportunity to put an arts and culture centre there it will be a bit of a hub… a bit of an attraction that will make people want to be there and live in that type of community.”
While Colwood is working with the developer on the project, not everything has gone quite as smoothly as council would like to see however. Feedback from a public hearing has been loud and clear that the developer needs to improve communication and work with the neighbouring communities to find solutions to be a better neighbour.
“What we did hear from the public hearings was not specifically about the OCP amendment, it was about the dust, the hydroseeding and concerns about activity happening outside of working hours on Sundays,” she said.
Lukens said the development needs to communicate better with the residents to improve relations especially with more rezoning and permitting to come.
“There is nothing more important that a developer having a relationship with the neighbourhood,” she said. “I think there is a lot of work going on to build and repair those relationships going forward.”
Updated information on the development plans and communications can be found at royalbaycommunity.com.