A controversial development that enjoys the tentative support of Saanich council but divides the Cadboro Bay neighbourhood will get its public hearing later this month.
Saanich has tentatively scheduled June 18 as the public hearing date for the proposed townhouse development on Penrhyn Street close to the centre of Cadboro Bay Village. It calls for a three-storey townhouse development with 14 units that would change the land use from single family residential to multi-family residential. In April, Saanich council voted 8-1 in favour with Coun. Nathalie Chambers to schedule the public hearing.
The project enjoys the support of staff (which recommended approval) and some members of the community, but also opposition from Cadboro Bay Residents Association (CBRA), whose leadership has objected to the proposed height and requested variances, in arguing that the proposed development remains out of character with the rest of the neighbourhood.
The upcoming public hearing on the Penrhyn project will be the first big test for CRBA’s new board following the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) on May 29, when the association also presented its new board.
Long-time chair Eric Dahli remains at the top of the board, with three new members joining nine returning members. But if many familiar faces have returned, the board has also seen changes, said Dahli. The number of women has risen by one to four, and the group as a whole has become younger, he said.
“I’m very pleased with the composition of the board,” he said.
The AGM featured a surprise from Mayor Fred Haynes and a keynote address from Mike Wilson, director of campus planning at the University of Victoria (UVic), who discussed university plans to increase on-campus accommodation for students by nearly 25 per cent.
In November 2018, the provincial government announced $200 million in funding for the construction of two new student housing buildings to house 782 students in addition to a new dining hall and multipurpose space. The new housing will replace three aging buildings for a net gain of 620 student homes.
While construction is not set to start until 2020, preparatory work has been underway since May, with work impacting Sinclair Road leading into the heart of Cadboro Bay now and in the future, with construction trucks accessing the building site off Sinclair Road. Crews will also be parking off the road. The current and future state of Sinclair Road looms large in the portfolio of issues facing the new board.
“The [top issue] on the list becomes Sinclair Hill and the relationship with UVic and how Saanich and UVic will work together,” said Dahli. “We are very concerned about traffic,” he added later.
Other issues include the conclusion of updates to the neighbourhood’s local area plan. While the public engagement part of this project has wrapped up, the plan continues to undergo refinements, said Dahli.
“As you know, the devil is in the details,” he said.
New and returning board members will also have to deal with abandoned and derelict boats washing up on local area beaches, mainly but not exclusively Cadboro Bay beach.
It recently ‘welcomed’ its most recent arrival, albeit on the Oak Bay side, in the shape of a catamaran.
“Scraping, repairing and painting a hull on the beach will release toxic substances on the beach and in the ocean when the tide turns,” he said, adding he and others have been in touch with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans among other authorities to deal with the situation.