Executive director David Lau, of Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, in an upstairs bedroom of the Monterey house, adjacent to Theatre Lane, where immigrants and refugees can soon live while settling in Canada. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Executive director David Lau, of Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, in an upstairs bedroom of the Monterey house, adjacent to Theatre Lane, where immigrants and refugees can soon live while settling in Canada. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Council rezones refugee house in Oak Bay Village

Oak Bay business association still waiting for parking lots

Oak Bay council approved the necessary rezoning for the renovated Monterey Avenue home where Vancouver Island Refugee Centre Society can house new Canadians.

A public hearing for the decision took place on Jan. 14 and was voted ahead on Jan. 25.

With the charitable help of local businesses and volunteers, and VIRCS’s own time, the two-storey house has been converted to have multiple bedrooms. However, it needed to rezone from the single-family zoning that limited it to one family and shift to “congregate” housing. It is designed to accommodate two live-in staff and eight tenants.

The house is one of two homes owned by Oak Bay along Theatre Lane that are currently leased to VIRCS. The other is on the Hampshire Road end and is housing a family.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay home ready to house refugees, immigrants

Dozens of locals submitted their support in writing ahead of the Jan. 14 hearing.

There was also a request from Oak Bay Business Improvement Association to “emphasize” that the two homes, which are housing new Canadians, were earmarked for the expansion of Oak Bay Village.

Oak Bay bought the Hampshire property in 1990. It was considered as a parking lot in 2007 and again in 2012.

Oak Bay bought 1538 Monterey in 2016 for $1.7 million. The site is a double lot.

READ MORE: Victoria immigrant centre’s refugee housing lands in Oak Bay

Martin Cownden of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association summed up the concern that no one will want to displace the VIRCS tenants when the current lease comes up for renewal in 2023.

“We ask you to relocate the activities currently in use at these properties to another location within the district at the conclusion of the lease,” Cownden said.

He also referenced the looming Oak Bay Village plan, and the limited opportunities to grow the village, siting the two Theatre Lane properties as potential parking lots.

“Housing for less fortunate people is a commendable cause but we don’t wish to lose sight that these properties were assumed to be used for the expansion of the village area, and that monies contributed are still in trust,” Cownden said. “How do you ever unscramble this egg?”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

oak bay

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

Just Posted

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
Victoria police are searching for a federal offender who is wanted Canada-wide after his statutory release was suspended. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for federal offender wanted Canada-wide

Warrant issued after offender’s statutory release suspended

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fairy Creek protesters gather at Victoria courthouse

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

Walkers ascend Mount Douglas Park on Sunday, Feb. 7. Visits to Saanich Parks are up 46 per cent compared to pre-pandemic statistics this time last year. (Darrell Wick Photo)
Oak Bay, Saanich parks peak in popularity during pandemic

Oak Bay spent an extra $5,000 on park toilet paper in 2020

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

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 March 2

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Ongoing Bamfield roadwork unrelated to planned $30M fix

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade ordered in wake of fatal bus crash

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Island communities asked to join forces in seeking help fighting illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Most Read