Community outrage over a potential six-storey development sparked a five-hour debate in Oak Bay.
Council heard from dozens against the plan to rebuild Oak Bay Lodge into a 320-bed complex care facility for seniors with dementia before denying a variance request in a three to two vote just after midnight.
Councillors Tara Ney, Hazel Braithwaite and Nils Jensen voted against the variance. “This has not been an open and transparent process,” said Jensen.
Councillor John Herbert and mayor Christopher Causton voted in favour. “I can’t take the risk for this community that this facility is going to go somewhere else,” said Causton.
Baptist Housing CEO Howard Johnson told council they arranged financing for the project that would be lost if not used before Dec. 31.
“Baptist Housing will be meeting with our partners, Vancouver Island Health Authority and Capital Regional Hospital District, to determine what our options and next steps are,” Johnson said. “Baptist Housing remains committed to providing resident-centred complex care and licensed dementia housing for the seniors of Greater Victoria.”
Residents complained a lack of communication left them feeling confused, manipulated and defensive.
“Any problem the developer has is not sufficient to curtail adequate discussion of the project,” said resident Norman Wale.