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Controversial townhouse complex in Saanich’s Caddy Bay all but approved

Couns. Judy Brownoff and Nathalie Chambers opposed the proposal
This artist’s rendering shows the proposed townhouse complex on Penrhyn Street that now awaits final approval. (District of Saanich/ KPL-Jame Architecture)

A controversial development in Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood now awaits final approval.

With Couns. Judy Brownoff and Nathalie Chambers opposed, council voted 7 to 2 to show its support for plans for a three-storey townhouse development with 14 units on Penrhyn Street close to the centre of Cadboro Bay Village.

This decision came after a long and contentious public hearing held last month that started on June 18 and lasted into the early morning hours of June 19. That meeting itself came after a lengthy committee-of-the-whole meeting during which councillors heard concerns about the massing of the proposed development, its impact on traffic, its location and its perceived impact on the area’s sociology. housing affordability. But if the project earned formal opposition from the neighbourhood association and a good share of residents, it also received some support.

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Coun. Susan Brice said the application will add to the vibrancy of the area.

“This is such an adored village, that any time there is change contemplated, there is always some anxiety, that it is not going to contribute positively,” said Brice in acknowledging some of the concerns heard. Coun. Karen Harper agreed. “It the logical place to put density in Cadboro Bay, and it is consistent with the [Official Community Plan] and [Local Area Plan],” she said, adding that it creates another opportunity for individuals to stay in the area.

Addressing concerns about the massing of the project, Harper said the project has undergone changes that are sensitive to the neighbourhood. “Taste is in the eye beholder, but I feel the proposal has a sea-side feel to it,” she said later. She also pointed out that staff recommended the proposal in expressing confidence that the applicant has addressed the various technical issues.

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Coun. Rebecca Mersereau said she too shared concerns about housing affordability, noting that it does not necessarily add to the type of housing that Saanich currently needs. This said, Mersereau said the project has the blessing of staff and the advisory design panel. In this context, she said staff had subjected the engineering reports submitted by developer to an extensive process of peer review. “I found that quite reassuring,” she said.

Brownoff said she is concerned about the design variances at the front end of the building, which could impact emergency services, and parking. Brownoff acknowledged that the project will bring more people into the neighbourhood. “But I’m not sure that the design is sympathetic to the area it is going in,” she said. “I think…you are creating something that might be just too many units on this site.”

Chambers said the project is not suitable for the area. The project does not increase the supply of affordable, she said. ‘This is unaffordable for seniors and families,” she said. She also notes that the project exposes the District to future liabilities in case of climate-change related flooding, noting that the development is going up in a Tsunami-zone, a flooding zone, and a liquefaction zone.

“We have been lucky so far, but no one is immune to climate change,” she said.

The project still requires final approval.

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