A six-storey apartment that will replace five existing properties will add 105 housing units to Esquimalt’s West Bay neighbourhood.
Wexford Developments’ proposal for redeveloping three West Bay Terrace and two Dunsmuir Road properties was given the final go-ahead by Esquimalt council on April 4.
The majority (64) of the 105 apartments will be 540-square-foot one-bedroom units, with the remaining spaces a mix of smaller studios and larger two- and three-bedrooms. A covenant has secured that at least 12 be three-bedroom units.
Some nearby residents expressed concern over the shadows the building will cause and about its impact on parking in the area. The proposal includes slightly less than the recommended ratio of 0.9 parking spaces per residential unit. In total, the site would have 87 parking spaces, with seven of those reserved for visitors.
Wexford said the project’s focus on promoting and enhancing active and public transportation will help reduce vehicle use.
The development includes a free year of Modo Car Share and a one-year bus pass for residents, an internal bike-share program, and about 130 bike parking spots. The developer will also give the building’s residents up to $500 for an electric bike or up to $250 for a regular bicycle. These transportation aspects were also enshrined in the covenant.
The building’s design was altered throughout the application. The original plan called for 125 units and a five-storey structure, but a thinner and taller design with upper floors set back was ultimately chosen. The parkade’s footprint was also scaled back to allow for more on-site plantings.
The five existing properties include 20 living spaces. Wexford said during the approval process that it would go above and beyond the provincially required compensation for impacted residents. The existing tenants will also have moving expenses covered and be offered spots in the new apartment at a discounted rate for the first year of their lease.
The developer told council last fall that the impacted homes are market-level units that have low rents due to decades of deferred maintenance, causing poor conditions – adding that two are “unlivable.”
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