Oak Bay United Church concludes their series of meetings with close neighbours regarding their proposed housing project. The architects will use this feedback to help guide the design of the site. A wider public consultation is slated for January. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

VIDEO: Oak Bay United to release concept drawing in January

Immediate neighbour consultation concludes while concerns remain

In early November, Oak Bay United Church invited 95 of their nearest neighbours to one of four consultation sessions to discuss their proposed affordable housing development and to hear neighbours’ ideas, feedback, and concerns about the project.

“That was a fantastic process. We were really glad to have that engagement and consultation,” said Rev. Michelle Slater.

The feedback was taken back to the architects of the project and who then worked to create a number of scenarios that balanced the feedback from the neighbours with the church’s need to break even in regards to costs and revenue.

Last week, those scenarios were shown to the immediate neighbours in two mid-week meetings. In all of the scenarios presented, the duplex that houses the church office and thrift shop, Gardner Hall, and Threshold House will all be demolished to make way for the development. Slater said the scenarios presented to the neighbours ranged from 80 to 150 units in a four- to five-story building.

“None of them were real designs,” said Slater, “they were being used as more of a tool to provide context. They showed a range of units, different floors, and different parking options.”

Slater said this was to get a second round of feedback from the neighbours before creating actual design concepts.

“We had a number of really innovative ideas (from the neighbours) that the architects are excited to try to work into the new designs coming in January,” said Slater.

Some neighbours feel that their concerns about the size of the development, as well as other issues like traffic and parking, have not been addressed in the consulting and planning process of the project so far. Residents are sharing their concerns through a variety of avenues: many letters to the editor have been placed in Oak Bay News, residents including former-mayor Diana Butler have spoken at council meetings, and a group has been formed called Concerned Citizens Network who created a website to compile information and voice their concerns about the project.

“The mass and the size of the building is just out of proportion to everything else in the neighbourhood,” said Curtis Hobson, immediate neighbor and spokesman for the Concerned Citizens Network.

Speaking to the scenarios presented last week Hobson says, “The lowest was 39 feet high, the other three were 48 feet high, which is significantly larger than any other structure in the neighbourhood, except for the church. Churches are iconic structures and should be large because they serve as a calling point. The apartment block is an apartment block.”

Sometime in January there will be an open house where not just immediate neighbours but the whole Oak Bay community will be invited to test the next iteration of the design.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay home ready to house refugees, immigrants

District leases two village homes to Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society

Police seek ‘high-risk sex offender’ last seen in Victoria

Scott Jones is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for being ‘unlawfully at large’

The State of Aging: COVID-19 exposed a long-term care system already in crisis

A look at Greater Victoria’s aging population and what that will mean for the future

Central Saanich police sport personalized face masks

Masks feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read