The artist’s rendering shows the three-storey mixed use development on Sidney’s westside that councillors voted down earlier this month. (Submitted)

Sidney turns down housing project over size, massing after neighbourhood concerns

Would-be developer of project on Sidney’s westside now plans to sell lot

The owner of a Sidney property plans to sell it after council denied an application for a three-storey mixed use development on Sidney’s westside.

Rob Pringle, senior architectural technologist at Joe Newell Architect, said the owner of 2140 Skylark Lane plans to sell the lot after councillors meeting as committee of the whole voted down the project by a vote of 4-3. The development advertised itself as affordable housing with 12 units, including two live-work units on the ground floor.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith as well as Couns. Scott Garnett, Terri O’Keeffe, Chad Rintoul voted against the application. Couns. Sara Duncan, Barbara Fallot and Peter Wainwright opposed denial.

Pringle, who presented the project to councillors earlier this month, said it has no future. “We were of the opinion that regardless of what type of building we would put forward, the neighbours don’t want development at that point,” he said.

He added that current zoning permits the construction of a duplex. “However, that does not fit in the grand scheme of the West Sidney Local Area Plan. At that point, the owner just felt that it may better just to sell the site.”

Pringle said later he was surprised council did not send the proposal to Sidney’s advisory planning commission, where the developer could have worked with town staff to make it work.

Opposition against the proposal appeared significant with all six speakers during public participation arguing against the proposal. Council also received several letters against the proposal from area residents.

RELATED: New report finds many Sidney residents struggle with housing affordability

“The project is too big, it doesn’t legally meet the [Official Community Plan] and it’s completely unfair to us and the immediate four, five properties around it,” said Jason Stewart, who lives in the area. While Stewart acknowledged that Sidney will eventually densify over time, he questioned why council would allow re-development, when both the OCP and local area plan call for re-development to start from north to south rather than the middle of the neighbourhood.

Staff later said that the OCP currently calls for residential re-development from north to south, but the local area plan itself permits re-development throughout the area.

Stewart also called on councillors to follow through on their election promises for what he described as a “reasonable approach” towards development. Other speakers also questioned the impact of the development on traffic safety, privacy, local crime and process.

These arguments eventually ended up swaying the majority of council.

Coun. Garnett said his main concerns were about traffic safety, noting that the area is already busy with many forms of traffic, from residential traffic to school traffic to industrial traffic.

Mayor McNeil-Smith said the biggest issue with the project is the small size of the lot, adding that later that the area needs infrastructure improvements to ensure walk-ability. “As Mayor McNeil-Smith said, I just think this project is too big for this lot,” added Coun. O’Keeffe later.

While Coun. Wainwright acknowledged that the local area plan remains a “piece of unfinished business” from the previous council, the proposal before the current council attempts to change the direction of the neighbourhood. To say no now, would lock in the neighbourhood on its current trajectory, he said.

Coun. Sara Duncan said among other points that she would like to see the developer re-work his proposal, a sentiment shared by Coun. Fallot who pointed to Sidney’s lack of affordable housing. Within this context, the proposal drew a letter of support from John Juricic, chair of the Peninsula Industry Committee with the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

“Until we have a workable transit solution and affordable housing, Peninsula employers will continue to struggle to attract employees,” he wrote.

Mayor McNeil-Smith acknowledged the need for more affordable housing. But Sidney also needs two-room and three-bedroom suites on top of the housing proposed by the development, he said. It called for six bachelor suites, four one-bedrooms and one two-bedroom suite.

Rintoul questioned whether going to back to the neighbourhood would make any difference.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read