Rockland neighbourhood residents protest a proposed development on the site of the former Victoria Truth Centre at 1201 Fort St. The public hearing on the project by Abstract Developments was cut short late Thursday night due to a medical emergency for a member of the public in the chambers at City Hall, but the majority of speakers voiced support for the project. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Hearing for Truth Centre site development cut short by emergency

Public will continue to make presentations at the April 26 meeting of Victoria council

A medical emergency for a person inside the City Hall chambers late Thursday night cut short an already long public hearing for the Abstract Developments condominium/townhouse project proposed for 1201 Fort St. and 1050 Pentrelew Pl.

The hearing will be continued at the next scheduled council meeting, April 26. But last night an overwhelming majority of speakers coming up to the microphone voiced support for the project, for reasons ranging from the need for more housing for workers from the tech sector, to the quality and care Abstract takes on its projects, to the fact the site is on a major transportation route to and from the nearby downtown.

Those speaking against the project, mostly from the immediate neighbourhood, reiterated longstanding concerns over the size and massing of the project, the latest iteration of which includes a six-storey building toward the front of the lot at Fort, a four-storey structure at the south, and nine townhouses along Pentrelew. The loss of large mature sequoia trees was also brought up by some in opposition.

The project has gone through six “significant revisions, including one complete redesign,” said Mike Miller, Abstract president, who noted that “this has been an emotional journey for everyone.”

One speaker who lives across from the site on Fort Street said that if the company built to exactly what the current zoning allows, the result could be “an ugly square box with lots of parking and no trees.” Not only that, he added, the density, which has been spread out over the entire project and lowered from that allowed, would be much higher in such a building.

Council is expected to make a decision on the rezoning application with variances at the April 26 meeting, after hearing the remaining speakers, but may not, by law, discuss the matter with the public in the interim.

editor@vicnews.com

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