Council, city staff outmanoevred by Fort Street developer

Decision to stop compromising shows planning process is broken in Victoria

City council dealt a tremendous blow to Rockland neighbors last week when it approved Abstract’s plans for 1201 Fort St.

The applicant manoeuvered council into approving a design that is too large for the space and out of place on the Fort Street heritage corridor. That manoeuvering reflects a broken planning process at City Hall which results in more riches for already rich developers while neighbors and other City taxpayers are left holding the bill.

Council allowed itself to be manipulated by the developer when it agreed to go to a public hearing. The problem with that, as Coun. Pam Madoff noted, is that it creates an all-or-nothing winner/loser situation. The neighbors were not NIMBYs, but wanted a gentler densification. There was still room to compromise.

But council killed that compromise by moving to a public hearing over the objections of almost all nearby neighbors and literally hundreds of signatories to an open letter and online petition. It was an amazing spectacle to watch council forestall compromise and negotiation over an important land-use choice.

Neighbors of 1201 Fort St. might have been willing to swallow this bitter pill for the greater good if the result was the kind of housing that would actually make a dent in the city’s housing problem.

But Abstract intends to build units that are out of the price range for most citizens in Victoria. The scenario illustrates the mismatch between the rents and prices many Victoria citizens can afford, and the expensive condos developers love to build because they can make much more money. We could compromise about the kind of condo housing approved by council – but that would reduce developer profit.

Under this council, developers are cashing in by building these expensive condominiums. The councillors who voted to approve the Abstract project – Mayor Lisa Helps, as well as Margaret Lucas, Marianne Alto, Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Jeremy Loveday, and Chris Coleman – know this.

Yet such expensive condo developments keep getting approved. Why?

Chris Douglas


Just Posted

Tour de Victoria rolls through the region Saturday

Expect traffic delays across Greater Victoria on Aug. 18

Fire chief stops driving lesson to fight fire

Sooke fire concerned over second suspicious bin fire this year

Victoria police seize over one kilo of fentanyl, guns and cars

Andrew Ritch is facing charges of drug trafficking and firearm offences

UPDATE: Missing Langford teen found safe

The 13-year-old Langford boy reported missing Wednesday has been found

Six Victoria firefighters head to B.C. Interior to combat wildfires

The Victoria Fire Department sent a water tender and fire truck to Fort St. James

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read