Oak Bay residents with concerns about the Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment will have to wait until June 19 to voice their opinions.
This week, Oak Bay council approved a new timeline for consultants on the Cadboro Bay Road project, pushing back meeting, report and decision dates. Consultant Felice Mazzoni, hired by the municipality and paid by developer Baptist Housing Society, presented the revised timeline that the municipality’s councillors and mayor requested last week. Mazzoni included time for a town hall meeting during which residents can speak up about the lodge.
Council is deciding whether to approve Baptist Housing Society’s application for height and parking variances in order to redevelop the 247-bed facility.
The revised timeline went through even further adjustments at the meeting, with a public meeting being pushed back from June 15 to 19 and a drop dead decision date from June 22 to 27. Coun. Cairine Green expressed concern about the narrow dates.
“Tight deadlines make people feel crunched,” she said. She also reiterated her inquiry about the potential for trial balloons at the lodge site to indicate proposed heights and Mazzoni said that could be accommodated.
Oak Bay administrator Mark Brennan questioned the addition of a traffic study in the consultant’s revised budget. Brennan wanted to know what the study would entail. Mazzoni assured council that traffic study parameters would be available soon.
“This is the hardest project I haven’t started,” Mazzoni said. “I’m trying to find a balance in dealing with variances (and public concerns).” The consultant added that since he now has clear direction from council the process should continue smoothly.
Before the meeting Dayle Krahn of Baptist Housing Society expressed frustration with the length of time it’s taking for council to decide yea or nay on the group’s variance application.
“We had anticipated, way back in January when we started this process with Oak Bay, that we’d be in a decision-making session right now as opposed to starting over. The longer it takes to make a decision the more expensive it’s going to be for us.”
Krahn anticipated that interior demolition on some sections of the lodge could start within one year of the project’s approval.