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.

Just Posted

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Cloudy, chance of showers ahead for Wednesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Greater Victoria could see a months worth of rain within a week this fall

Weather Network predicts wet, warm fall season for B.C.

Saanich brings Uptown-Douglas Corridor draft plan to the public

Feedback from residents will help finalize the plan

Central Saanich Police issue recommendations to homeowners after break-in

Incident happened over weekend in Tanner Ridge area

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read