Oak Bay United Church concludes their series of meetings with close neighbours regarding their proposed housing project. The architects will use this feedback to help guide the design of the site. A wider public consultation is slated for January. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

VIDEO: Oak Bay United to release concept drawing in January

Immediate neighbour consultation concludes while concerns remain

In early November, Oak Bay United Church invited 95 of their nearest neighbours to one of four consultation sessions to discuss their proposed affordable housing development and to hear neighbours’ ideas, feedback, and concerns about the project.

“That was a fantastic process. We were really glad to have that engagement and consultation,” said Rev. Michelle Slater.

The feedback was taken back to the architects of the project and who then worked to create a number of scenarios that balanced the feedback from the neighbours with the church’s need to break even in regards to costs and revenue.

Last week, those scenarios were shown to the immediate neighbours in two mid-week meetings. In all of the scenarios presented, the duplex that houses the church office and thrift shop, Gardner Hall, and Threshold House will all be demolished to make way for the development. Slater said the scenarios presented to the neighbours ranged from 80 to 150 units in a four- to five-story building.

“None of them were real designs,” said Slater, “they were being used as more of a tool to provide context. They showed a range of units, different floors, and different parking options.”

Slater said this was to get a second round of feedback from the neighbours before creating actual design concepts.

“We had a number of really innovative ideas (from the neighbours) that the architects are excited to try to work into the new designs coming in January,” said Slater.

Some neighbours feel that their concerns about the size of the development, as well as other issues like traffic and parking, have not been addressed in the consulting and planning process of the project so far. Residents are sharing their concerns through a variety of avenues: many letters to the editor have been placed in Oak Bay News, residents including former-mayor Diana Butler have spoken at council meetings, and a group has been formed called Concerned Citizens Network who created a website to compile information and voice their concerns about the project.

“The mass and the size of the building is just out of proportion to everything else in the neighbourhood,” said Curtis Hobson, immediate neighbor and spokesman for the Concerned Citizens Network.

Speaking to the scenarios presented last week Hobson says, “The lowest was 39 feet high, the other three were 48 feet high, which is significantly larger than any other structure in the neighbourhood, except for the church. Churches are iconic structures and should be large because they serve as a calling point. The apartment block is an apartment block.”

Sometime in January there will be an open house where not just immediate neighbours but the whole Oak Bay community will be invited to test the next iteration of the design.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read