About a dozen residents gather under the oak tree that forms one part of their opposition to a proposal for a building on Oak Bay Avenue. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Quest proposal comes to council this fall

Residents wades in to conversation over multi-family housing proposal

A tree takes centre stage in a proposal for a multi-family development on Oak Bay Avenue.

Large &Co. proposes to build a five-storey, 14-unit, multi-family residential building at 2325 Oak Bay Ave.

“In all practical purposes it’s a four-storey building with a rooftop garden,” says Kim Colpman Director of Property Development, Large &Co. Titled The Quest … for healthy living, in a nod to the lifestyle of company Director Earl Large who’s “a real health nut.”

Walkable with infloor radial heat, and exploring structured water, the healthiest lighting available and of course the rooftop garden and fitness studio with infrared sauna.

“We live in probably one of the healthiest places on the planet,” Colpman said. “The whole purpose is a quest for healthy living.”

The first proposal in Feb. 2014 was one of those put on hold as Oak Bay’s official community plan review neared its finish.

They did get some feedback from staff at the time, and before returning after the OCP was in place, had eliminated a suite from the top floor, mitigated shadowing for the north neighbour and added to the setback.

For a group of about a dozen residents, including some from the co-op housing building around the corner, the request remains too large, said spokesman John Tiffany.

“It’s still five storeys high. It’s a small lot,” said Tiffany. “We think this is too big a building for too small a lot. The developer is trying to squeeze in this building.”

The proposal features 18 underground parking spaces.

“In the process of doing that, they’re going to take out all of the trees, bushes and plants on the property,” Tiffany said. That includes the looming Garry oak that seems to take centre stage in talk about town.

“We’re talking about our urban forest initiative here in Oak Bay, and I don’t see how that would match what this proposal’s talking about,” he said, estimating the tree at 150 years old. “We don’t want to see blasting that’s going to impact trees and hedges.”

The group Stop the Quest currently has about 200 signatures from those in person and online, opposing tree removal.

Roots of the tree on the adjacent property are established and shallow in the adjacent site and “because there’s nowhere for the tree to survive on it’s own property … the tree is shooting over,” Colpman said. “You can’t do anything meaningful without affecting that tree. It will be affected no matter what’s done there.”

Large &Co. values the tree at $40,000 and would put in that value – $25,000 toward the York House (the land the tree is on) strata, replace the tree with one with the ability to thrive on the site (likely a beech) and $10,000 toward Oak Bay’s urban forest.

“That’s to plant trees so they are replacing the canopy for that tree,” Colpman said. “That’s trees in the ground.”

Those opposed feel the building still doesn’t fit within the OCP, while Large &Co. sees it fitting with the multi-family designation (but not zoning) of the lot, between two other apartment buildings.

“Trim it back and make it fit the space,” Tiffany said. “It’s not a bad building as far as design goes, but it’s too big a building for too small a lot.”

The proposal is expected on a committee of the whole meeting this fall. Visit oakbay.ca to view council and committee meeting agendas.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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Residents with Garry oak tree that forms one part of their opposition to a proposal for a building on Oak Bay Avenue. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

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