The possibility of a new dementia care and residential living facility being built in Oak Bay is still very much alive.
Baptist Housing, whose proposed replacement for the existing Oak Bay Lodge was stalled when variances needed for the design were rejected by municipal council in November, is putting finishing touches on a new application it hopes to submit to the municipality this week.
“We have listened carefully to the neighbours, as well as to the councillors, and taken all things into consideration,” said Baptist Housing CEO Howard Johnson.
The organization’s original proposal was opposed by neighbours of the current lodge, where Baptist Housing hopes to build the new facility. Much of the negative attention surrounded the six-storey height of the proposed design, as well as the lack of available parking on site. Such details were the focus of the variance permit applications ultimately voted down.
Though he wouldn’t go into specifics of the new proposal, Johnson said he’s confident it addresses those concerns.
“From what I’ve understood and heard, the Oak Bay municipality would like to retain beds in Oak Bay.
“I think in the spirit of good will, everyone is willing to work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen agrees.
“We certainly want to keep the communication open with Baptist Housing,” he said.
Money also played a part in discussions back in the fall. Indications were that the project’s financing would fall through if approval was not granted by the end of December. That wasn’t the case, Johnson said.
“I don’t want financing to become the driving force on this and I wish it hadn’t become a central issue last time,” he said. “Any financing needs we have, we will work within the time frames to make it work.”
The Vancouver Island Health Authority, which is responsible for finding appropriate housing for the current residents of Oak Bay Lodge once a new facility is approved, is eager to see how things play out in the municipality.
“We’re still at the table determining what our options for residential renewal in the Greater Victoria area are,” said VIHA spokesperson Shannon Marshall.