The artist’s rendering shows the three-storey mixed use development on Sidney’s westside that councillors voted down earlier this month. (Submitted)

The artist’s rendering shows the three-storey mixed use development on Sidney’s westside that councillors voted down earlier this month. (Submitted)

Sidney turns down housing project over size, massing after neighbourhood concerns

Would-be developer of project on Sidney’s westside now plans to sell lot

The owner of a Sidney property plans to sell it after council denied an application for a three-storey mixed use development on Sidney’s westside.

Rob Pringle, senior architectural technologist at Joe Newell Architect, said the owner of 2140 Skylark Lane plans to sell the lot after councillors meeting as committee of the whole voted down the project by a vote of 4-3. The development advertised itself as affordable housing with 12 units, including two live-work units on the ground floor.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith as well as Couns. Scott Garnett, Terri O’Keeffe, Chad Rintoul voted against the application. Couns. Sara Duncan, Barbara Fallot and Peter Wainwright opposed denial.

Pringle, who presented the project to councillors earlier this month, said it has no future. “We were of the opinion that regardless of what type of building we would put forward, the neighbours don’t want development at that point,” he said.

He added that current zoning permits the construction of a duplex. “However, that does not fit in the grand scheme of the West Sidney Local Area Plan. At that point, the owner just felt that it may better just to sell the site.”

Pringle said later he was surprised council did not send the proposal to Sidney’s advisory planning commission, where the developer could have worked with town staff to make it work.

Opposition against the proposal appeared significant with all six speakers during public participation arguing against the proposal. Council also received several letters against the proposal from area residents.

RELATED: New report finds many Sidney residents struggle with housing affordability

“The project is too big, it doesn’t legally meet the [Official Community Plan] and it’s completely unfair to us and the immediate four, five properties around it,” said Jason Stewart, who lives in the area. While Stewart acknowledged that Sidney will eventually densify over time, he questioned why council would allow re-development, when both the OCP and local area plan call for re-development to start from north to south rather than the middle of the neighbourhood.

Staff later said that the OCP currently calls for residential re-development from north to south, but the local area plan itself permits re-development throughout the area.

Stewart also called on councillors to follow through on their election promises for what he described as a “reasonable approach” towards development. Other speakers also questioned the impact of the development on traffic safety, privacy, local crime and process.

These arguments eventually ended up swaying the majority of council.

Coun. Garnett said his main concerns were about traffic safety, noting that the area is already busy with many forms of traffic, from residential traffic to school traffic to industrial traffic.

Mayor McNeil-Smith said the biggest issue with the project is the small size of the lot, adding that later that the area needs infrastructure improvements to ensure walk-ability. “As Mayor McNeil-Smith said, I just think this project is too big for this lot,” added Coun. O’Keeffe later.

While Coun. Wainwright acknowledged that the local area plan remains a “piece of unfinished business” from the previous council, the proposal before the current council attempts to change the direction of the neighbourhood. To say no now, would lock in the neighbourhood on its current trajectory, he said.

Coun. Sara Duncan said among other points that she would like to see the developer re-work his proposal, a sentiment shared by Coun. Fallot who pointed to Sidney’s lack of affordable housing. Within this context, the proposal drew a letter of support from John Juricic, chair of the Peninsula Industry Committee with the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

“Until we have a workable transit solution and affordable housing, Peninsula employers will continue to struggle to attract employees,” he wrote.

Mayor McNeil-Smith acknowledged the need for more affordable housing. But Sidney also needs two-room and three-bedroom suites on top of the housing proposed by the development, he said. It called for six bachelor suites, four one-bedrooms and one two-bedroom suite.

Rintoul questioned whether going to back to the neighbourhood would make any difference.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Reality/Submitted).
Chamber of Commerce promises Sidney warehouse proposal will deliver jobs

Nearby resident said project’s benefits will be short-lived

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)
Feral cat rescue group looking for support

SAFARS helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Most Read