• Rental trade agreement reached
While developers typically can’t stratify a rental building in Victoria, the rules can be flexible with the right incentive.
Last year, Casa Projects eventually convinced a weary city planning staff to grant an exception to the rule, by offering to secure one rooming house and build another. It seems the road has now been paved for similar deals.
A new applicant has been granted permission to stratify an apartment at 1015 Moss St. into eight condo units, and designate it as a heritage building. In June 2008, the building caught fire, suffering significant damage to the attic.
In exchange for the allowance, the applicant will secure six new rental units at 1030 Cook St, also to be designated heritage.
• Permanent second urinal postponed
The first permanent downtown urinal was such a success it won an international design award. Plans for a second, however, have been delayed.
City council approved an expenditure of $32,000 to continue the city’s practice of deploying four removable Kros urinals during the summer months, until the permanent urinal is installed.
According to the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s clean team, they’ll be needed.
In a recent letter to city council, the DVBA’s Ken Kelly noted concerns over public urination are ongoing, and especially prevalent around Bastion Square.
• No change to park washroom hours
In other washroom news, a council subcommittee nixed the idea of extending park washroom facilities because the cost is too great.
Currently, the city maintains 17 public washrooms in parks during daylight hours at a cost of $500,000 per year. Expanded the service from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. would add $125,000 to the bottom line.
• Gorge housing approved … again
Council first approved a 52-unit affordable housing project in late 2010. Once excavation began, however, a slight reconfiguration of the parking lot revealed the need to reduce the number of stalls promised by grand total of one.
The rejig triggered the need for a whole new rezoning and development permit application, complete with public hearing. Nobody showed up, said Kaye Melliship of the Greater Victoria Housing Society, which will operate the building, at 15-21 Gorge Rd. East, once finished.
Council approved the new development permit (with 56 parking stalls rather than 57) Thursday. Construction at the old Capri motel site continues and is due for completion by the end of the year.
• Second garden suite proposal scrapped
Council has denied an application to build a garden suite on a corner lot, at 1334 Pembroke St.
Since adopting its draft garden suite policy, council has reviewed two applications. It approved the first, in the Topaz area.
City planning staff, however, deemed the Pembroke lot too small to justify the size of the garden suite proposed. The next door neighbour opposed the application, siting concerns over lost privacy.
• Cycling Festival scores cash
City council approved a one-time $20,000 grant for the Victoria International Cycling Festival.
The inaugural festival runs from May 27 to June 12 and features a bike rally, a mountain bike skills competition, cycling tours and other events for the family. The grant will be used for policing ($15, 000) and rental equipment ($5,000).
• On second thought, no stream
Phase two of Fisherman’s Wharf Park improvements will not include daylighting a stream, as originally envisioned.
The stream currently travels through pipes underground, and new analysis by the city parks department reveals that bringing it to the surface will cost too much and present too many risks.
Instead, parks staff will proceed with a rain garden to absorb storm water and filter it naturally. The $600,000 cost will also include new trees and shrubs, walkways, a rock wall and seating.
• Theatre Alley reborn in the Union
Council gave Anthem Properties the go ahead to develop the fenced-off Chinatown lot fronting Fisgard Street and Pandora Avenue.
A five-storey mixed-use development at 517 Fisgard, called the Union, will feature a mid-block pedestrian alleyway, dubbed Theatre Alley for the walkway once leading to the Chinese opera. It was also incorporate the lone remnant of a fire which destroyed much of the heritage building on the former Buckerfields lot. The partial brick wall, currently supported by braces, will be rehabilitated.