Public pathway a no-go for San Carlos

The district won't push for a long-used pathway through private property after a discussion Monday night

The district won’t push for a long-used pathway through private property after a discussion Monday night.

A heritage revitalization agreement on the table for 2414 San Carlos Place opened the conversation earlier this year. After public input during a meeting last month, council tasked staff with delving into the possibility both with the landowner and the district financials.

They held over the agreement to committee of the whole for discussion while staff gathered more information.

They held over the agreement for 2414 San Carlos Place to committee of the whole for discussion while staff gathered more information.

Space was the main concern for Bill Patterson, the developer who plans to preserve the designated heritage homes in San Carlos Patio Court and build a new house on the adjacent vacant lot.

“I cannot see it working with the setbacks that exist on the existing houses,” Patterson said.

It was a sentiment echoed by staff and council.

“It would be unfair to ask the applicant to build that path,” agreed Coun. Hazel Braithwaite.

While acknowledging the path used by walkers previously was on private property, Coun. Tara Ney voiced disappointment to see it “closed,” adding, “I can see how crammed it is, so I agree with the staff report.”

Staff couldn’t back a plan to pursue a public pathway in the San Carlos neighbourhood, citing cost, concerns raised by police and lack of property. They did however, offer an alternative. Council will revisit an option from the 2012 Active Transportation Strategy, a multi-use trail through the allotment gardens to Shady Lane to Beach Drive.

Based solely on land value, Roy Thomassen, director of building and planning for Oak Bay, noted the Shady Lane path would be a less expensive option as Oak Bay would likely need to purchase half the amount of land; despite requiring a larger swatch of pathway, it would be significantly shorter.

While pathway development is not part of the strategic priorities set by council for 2015, Coun. Eric Zhelka said what they were all thinking during the committee meeting Monday night, and put forward the motion that the pathway possibility, and funding, be discussed during the next priorities and planning meeting.

While the path was a primary discussion, council was there to approve the heritage agreement that would see subdivision of 2414 San Carlos into two lots, with a new triangular-shaped lot fronting onto Monteith Street and retaining the existing single-family dwelling. Sitting as committee, council also recommended allowing a letter of credit to cover the expected costs of the works in accordance with the conservation plan rather than complete the works prior to subdivision. Patterson explained the costs go down running one worksite as opposed to doing the homes consecutively.

Decisions made during committee of the whole are recommendations to council for final decision.