Scott Laming and his neighbours have rallied to save the childcare facility located on the site of a proposed housing development on Raymond Street South. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Scott Laming and his neighbours have rallied to save the childcare facility located on the site of a proposed housing development on Raymond Street South. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Need for childcare butts heads with proposed six-storey building in Saanich

Proposal includes six units to be sold at 10 per cent below market value

A Saanich neighbourhood is rallying to keep a daycare that could be ousted for a housing development.

Scott Laming has lived near Colquitz Creek and Tillicum Road for most of his life and for about 20 years, 3656 Raymond St. South has housed a childcare. Since 2016, Compass Childcare has rented the building from owners Abstract Developments.

In 2018, Laming and his neighbours received notice Abstract planned to build a new six-storey, 59-unit apartment complex on the property – six of which would be sold for 10 per cent below market value.

To do so, Abstract Developments applied for rezoning as well as setback and parking variances. The application came to council in June and a revised plan was considered on Sept. 14 before the matter was sent to public hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

Currently, the property is zoned for public assembly, which allows for art galleries, churches, educational institutes, museums, theatres, daycares and other community service centres, said Saanich spokesperson Keslie McLeod. If the application is approved, the zoning would allow for a high-density apartment building.

READ ALSO: The great Saanich pumpkin dump: Advocates advise against abandoning carved gourds in park

Since the project was announced, residents have been vocal about concerns regarding the loss of the daycare and increased traffic, said Laming. Lawn signs are scattered across yards for several blocks calling for the daycare and zoning to be preserved.

The facilities permitted in the current zoning are “what makes a city thrive” but are also “under the most financial stress” due to COVID-19, he said, adding that neighbours worry this would set a precedent.

Residents aren’t opposed to development, he said, but rather oppose trading daycare for housing – especially when the district’s 2020 Childcare Inventory and Action Plan says current childcare spaces only meet half the demand in the region.

After Abstract bought the land in 2016, the existing building was rented to Compass Childcare on a fixed-term lease – though a daycare was never part of the long-term plan, said Mike Miller, CEO and founder of Abstract.

After initial community consultation, Abstract submitted a formal development application to Saanich in 2018, he said. This June, council sent the application back and requested more “robust” engagement with neighbours before sending it to a public hearing in September.

“We recognize that childcare is a real big concern” but so is housing affordability, Miller said. A daycare component is not being considered as childcare facilities need to be accommodated from the inception of a project, he added.

Jennifer Shaw, operator of Compass Childcare, said many parents shed tears realizing they’d need to hunt for new daycare spaces. Her lease was set to end in the summer of 2021 but the landlord was permitted to give six-month notice for early termination so the daycare will close by Christmas.

Mayor Fred Haynes said childcare is “a huge priority” for Saanich and “has never been more important” than during the pandemic.

Council will consider all sides before making a decision, he said, adding that even if the zoning doesn’t change, there’s no guarantee a daycare would remain. Haynes isn’t worried about a precedent as every application is “dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

DaycareDistrict of Saanich

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

 

A rendering of the proposed development planned for 3656 Raymond St. South shows what the housing complex might look like. (Image courtesy Abstract Developments)

A rendering of the proposed development planned for 3656 Raymond St. South shows what the housing complex might look like. (Image courtesy Abstract Developments)

Just Posted

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

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 Dec. 1

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

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read