In a rare move on Tuesday a Saanich developer pulled its application for a 25-unit condo on Doumac Avenue in Cordova Bay.
The move has stoked a larger discussion that a group of Cordova Bay villagers wish to have about the speed, and size, at which the area is starting to grow. Doumac is one of four major development proposals underway in Cordova Bay.
Colin Millard is a local real estate agent whose recent letter in the Saanich News introduced the idea that a group of Cordova Bay villagers want to rethink the area. He says there is a group of at least 80 residents who share the concerns.
“There’s a lot of feeling to have a real look at this whole area,” Millard said. “The Cordova Bay Village local area plan is old, developers want to get on with things, and [our group] we’re not against development.”
The application for 986 and 990 Doumac Ave. requires a bylaw rezoning the land from single family to apartment-village centre in order to construct a four-storey, 25-unit strata-titled apartment building with underground parking. Construction would remove both existing houses and all 27 trees on site.
The Cordova Bay residents who oppose the Doumac application believe the development is too dense and high. There is also additional concern that Cordova Bay Village is growing too big, too fast, as there is also an application to replace the aging Cordova Bay Plaza with an 86-unit condo, grocery store, retail shops and 320 parking spots (including underground). And the Doumac condo is on the same street.
“The primary thing for Doumac is that the building, in our heads, needs to be farther back,” Millard said. “We don’t mind four storeys, as long as it’s farther back because we [also] know that [the plaza] plans have a building that would be immediately facing Cordova Bay Road and, at four storeys high, it would all be too close and not village-like at all.”
Millard added that he knew of 60 people who were opposed to the Doumac application and learned of another 23 people who showed up to the public hearing (not realizing it was cancelled) on Tuesday.
It’s not often an application is pulled after being approved by both Saanich Planning and Saanich council for a public hearing. The developer, Citta Group, cited the resident concern and additional public consultation as the reason.
Back in November, council voted 8-1 to advance the Doumac application to a public hearing. The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs had also approved the development. Only Coun. Vic Derman was opposed, saying the development is too dense and lacks public amenities. The lots are flanked by single family dwellings, Cordova Bay Plaza and Cordova Bay elementary school in the heart of the Cordova Bay Village, as designated in Saanich’s Official Community Plan.
Following Tuesday’s withdrawal, Coun. Colin Plant, who teaches at Claremont secondary, said he was pleased that the Doumac Avenue public hearing was delayed.
“It allows the community and the developer to work together and with Saanich to create an even better project,” Plant said. “Anytime a developer goes out and does further consultation [because they want to] not because council asks them to, that is a positive.”
Allan Dakin lives nearby and said he was surprised by the Doumac and plaza applications, adding it took a while to digest.
“When we took a look at the local area plan we found quite a difference between what is there and what the developers are proposing,” Dakin said. “We are not anti-development. We realize [Doumac and the plaza] need to be developed.”