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Half of new homes in North Saanich spoken for

Small lot development on East Saanich Road offered workers a pre-sale opportunity
Crews clear brush off property at 9395 East Saanich Rd. The land is the site of what has been dubbed Canora Mews

As the brush is cleared from property at 9395 East Saanich Rd., more than half of the 40 residential lots planned for the site are being spoken for by people who work for businesses based in North Saanich.

Keycorp Consulting offered the lots to employees within the umbrella of the Sidney and North Saanich Industrial Group, Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and North Saanich Volunteer Fire Department. As of the conclusion of the initial offering and open houses last week, 27 couples or individuals had expressed an interest in buying one of the new homes.

The two weeks between Sept. 7 and 21 is the period allowed for financing to be secured and down payments placed on each lot.

“The vast majority of them work in North Saanich but do not live there,” says Rohan Rupf, director of Keycorp’s marketing branch. “We’re very happy with that response.”

Chris Fudge, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said the initial response by some of their members’ employees was good.

“It piqued some interest,” he said.

The project, now called Canora Mews, was the subject of more than a year of debate and controversy in the District of North Saanich.

The development is planning to put 40 units on smaller-than-typcial lots within the municipality, with an option for secondary suites, and that had local politicians split over how affordable,workforce housing could be attained in North Saanich.

That division continues, as council prepares to debate a consultant’s report on the District’s housing strategy at a meeting on Sept. 9.

Gary Lunn, one of the project developers, said Canora Mews is not the model for future growth in North Saanich. It is, he said, an appropriate development for the location within the municipality. The response to their initial sales offering, Lunn agreed, confirmed the need for workforce housing in North Saanich at a price point below the average house price in the community.

The homes at Canora Mews will cost between $399,000 and “the high $400,000s” said Rupf. Lunn added the down payments will be kept in trust until construction can begin.

With permits in place to clear the land, Lunn said the development still has to follow North Saanich’s policies to proceed with construction of the homes. While he said he’s not anticipating any snags, there is still the outstanding issue of connecting the site to the District’s sewer system.

Lunn said they have already committed to paying $15,000 per lot to cover the infrastructure costs.

He said the District is still looking into its connection options, but the developers will still pay what they agreed on.

“There will always be permit issues in any process,” Lunn said “but we’re not expecting any serious issues. We’re confident we’ll be able to deliver these new homes on time.”