Citizens of Colwood raised their concerns about two proposed developments at public hearings Dec. 1, ahead of council’s final rezoning decisions.
One hearing dealt with a rezoning request at 3554 Ryder Hesjedal Way to allow for a five-storey, 57 unit rental building next to a 72-unit building currently under construction.
The other saw a similar request for 791 Drummond Way, where developers seek to build a 43-townhome subdivision.
At the hearing for the rental building, Royal Bay Homeowners Association president John English said the development process “lacks legitimacy,” noting the current owners are putting money ahead of the needs of the community and the original owner’s development plans, which were previously approved by council.
”The reason this site was designated mixed use in the (official community plan – OCP) was to facilitate the building of restaurants,” English said. “Instead of restaurants and a public space, we have high-density residential development.”
Council should only approve construction of a commercial building on the lot’s remaining space, he added, so the neighbourhood would have a better mixture of commercial and residential properties.
Council should simply say no to the rezoning request, given the property has been subject to many already, said resident Warren Brown, who echoed English’s suggestion the space should be used for commercial uses rather than residential.
Concerns raised about the Drummond Way development centred mainly on the environmental and densification impacts the construction of 43 townhouses would have in a relatively sparsely built-up neighbourhood.
Resident Matthew Chapman, who lives directly across from the property, said he feels the proposed development runs counter to the climate change mitigation goals of Colwood’s OCP.
“The property is a largely steep, naturally forested hillside with a small wetland at its base,” he said. “Allowing the removal of nearly 100 trees and considerable wetland … would forever change the water flow in the area.”
Fellow Drummond Way resident Eric Solomon added the proposal as it currently stands will increase the neighbourhood’s density too much.
Beyond simply changing the feel of the area, he said, it will also lead to traffic issues.
“I think many would be more supportive if there was a reduction of the number of homes – half would be better.”
Given the lack of sidewalks and poor visibility along sections of Drummond Way, there would be an increased risk of traffic incidents if the development goes ahead as planned, Solomon said.
The developer’s traffic study is not an accurate representation of what the road is able to handle, he added, as it was conducted during the pandemic when fewer people are on the roads.
Both proposed zoning amendments have passed two readings by council, with consideration of third readings and adoption due for discussion at a future meeting.