B.C. housing funds reach the Saanich Peninsula

Central Saanich project plans for 40-plus new affordable housing units.

Preliminary plans for a Greater Victoria Housing Society four storey

The search will be a bit easier for families looking to rent affordable housing units. The province announced this week close to 2,900 new units of affordable housing. Of that, 140 units are proposed right here on the Saanich Peninsula, with almost 50 along West Saanich Road.

Those units are under development in Central Saanich by the Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS), in partnership with property owner Metropolitan Capital Partners.

The overall Metropolitan project in Central Saanich is at West Saanich Road and Stelly’s Cross Road, adjacent to Dignan Road. In their proposal, the development company is asking to subdivide one lot into three.

The first lot would be a four floor affordable housing apartment, consisting of 40 rental apartment units targeted to low income seniors and working adults built by the Society. In correspondence to the District, Metropolitan’s Vice-President of Development Matt Peulen wrote that the Society could get as much as $3 million for the affordable housing component of the project from the province.

The second lot includes six strata-free market price townhouses to be built by Metropolitan. The third, which is a new part of the proposal before the District of Central Saanich, would maintain an existing house on the site.

That house — the Francis Verdier house, identified as having heritage value — would get a new foundation and be relocated on the same property, but on the Stelly’s Cross Road side.

It currently faces West Saanich Road in Brentwood Bay.

The development company plans to restore the exterior of the house to preserve its heritage value and eventually renovate the interior, converting it to rental apartments.

The municipality is currently in the process of rezoning the property to accommodate the project.

Council is moving quickly on the matter to accommodate both the Society’s time line and to ensure the province’s financial support.

The plan needs to be finalized by March 31, 2017 and then construction needs to be completed within three years from that date, in order to qualify for the provincial funding.

A neighbour has concerns with the project.

Lorraine Butler, who lives on Dignan Road, said the proposal is far outside the District’s Official Community Plan (OCP).

She said the mass of the proposed condo building is just too much. She added the OCP is supposed to see buildings step back gradually from the street, rather than remain one large block.

Butler also expressed concern over moving the heritage house.

“We do appreciate that the developer has come back with something that retains the heritage house, but we don’t feel moving it to Stelly’s (Cross Road) is appropriate.

“It’s been on West Saanich (Road) for over 100 years,” she said.

The District wants to see the Society’s confirmation of the project time line and provincial funding commitment by Dec. 5.

There will be a public hearing on Dec. 13 at the Central Saanich municipal hall.

The time will be announced on the website at centralsaanich.ca.