Re: Aug. 29 article on passive homes on Cordova Bay Ridge. Proponent Nino Barbon states that he is providing “homes for the have-nots … addressing the housing crisis.”
In fact, these homes are far from affordable. While the five proposed lots are much smaller than permitted, each lot is still worth $500,000 or more with panoramic ocean views. The homes would be 3,100 square feet. With the extra costs of BC Step Code 5 passive homes, each would likely sell for upwards of $1.5 to $2 million. We can only estimate prices because Mr. Barbon has not provided this information. Giving access to have-nots seems far-fetched when adding strata fees of several hundred dollars per month and property taxes.
Mr. Barbon states that five suites will provide affordable housing. Each suite’s use and possible rent is up to the individual homeowner and is not part of the covenants he proposes. Rent will be set at market value.
This neighbourhood is being densified enough. His project will set a precedent for developers looking to increase density. Three houses are planned for next door to Beespot. At the far end of the block, four houses are proposed and four were approved at nearby 5117 Del Monte. The Pinnacle’s 46 homes and 309 units proposed at Aragon’s Trio Lands frame this neighbourhood’s north end. Enough!
The first step to approve Beespot is to amend the Official Community Plan (OCP) to allow small lots with passive housing. Once you’ve set this poor precedent, each large semi-rural lot could propose two or three homes. Let the housing market demand these energy efficiencies. Beespot’s supporters indicate a market exists. We don’t need to ruin a functioning community by changing the OCP.
Ruin how? Through over densification and altering its character. The project could also bring 20 more cars to this narrow cul-de-sac. The Ridge in Cordova Bay is car dependent no matter how sincere your intention to reduce cars. Emissions from these cars will offset savings from passive energy. Del Monte Avenue is already an unsafe, narrow traffic corridor. BC Transit will not add bus service because of the confined, twisting road conditions.
Neighbours have stated they like the Beespot’s features but not the number of units. A total of three houses would not require an amendment to the Local Area Plan’s lot sizes. It’s the right way to go.
D. L. Gerrior