The Christie Point Apartments on Craigowan Road currently offer a range of suites and configurations in a gated-style community built on the narrow strip of land jutting into Portage Inlet. The owners of the 1960s era development, which currently includes 161 rental homes, are proposing a complete redevelopment of the 15.8-acre property that calls for 473 rental units in seven building sections. (Don Descoteau/News Gazette staff)

Christie Point redevelopment clears another hurdle

Council votes 3-2 to move project forward

The Christie Point redevelopment proposal cleared another hurdle at Tuesday’s View Royal council meeting and residents were visibly upset at the decision.

After council voted 3-2 in favour of the rezoning application, the majority of residents in the packed chambers stormed out of the meeting, some directing a few choice profanities at council.

One resident brazenly shouted “see you at the polls” and called Mayor David Screech a loser.

After being asked to kiss a certain body part, the mayor replied “get the hell out.”

The decision to approve third reading for a bylaw amendment that would pave the way for the Christie Point redevelopment proposal came after a short discussion, where each of the council members expressed their own opinions on the overall scope of the project.

“I know people are concerned about a lack of a 15 metre set back … [but] there’s also a number of [environmental] flaws on the site the developer will have to fix if this gets approved,” noted Coun. Ron Mattson, adding that overall the environmental impact of this project will be positive.

However, he did acknowledge the buildings would be significantly higher than they are now, negatively impacting the view.

The approximately $200 million redevelopment proposal for the 15.8 acre peninsula, which would see roughly 470 new units built on the existing foundation in two four-storey buildings and six six-storey buildings, has been met with mixed reviews during the public consultation process. Those units would replace the existing 161 units in two storey buildings.

“We had to do something and I feel this is probably the best deal that I as a councillor could get for residents and still have the project viable,” Mattson said. “To be able to have some protections for 20 per cent of the existing families was quite important.”

Coun. Aaron Weisgerber said that with the changes and clarifications he was pleased with the proposal.

However, Coun. Heidi Rast noted that her main concerns – height and density – had not been addressed to her satisfaction.

Coun. John Rogers echoed those concerns. “The six storey height is not consistent with the ambiance and the character,” he said. “I was struck by how many people referred to it as View Royal’s jewel … Frankly such heights could turn View Royal’s jewel into View Royal’s eyesore.”

Rogers was also concerned rising sea levels could cause long term problems for the site, especially with buildings and partially below grade parking within the 15 metre high tide set back.

Ultimately, it came down to Screech to break the tie. “I know it’s been a tough haul,” he said. “I really do feel from where we started to where we are now … it’s far improved.”

He noted other housing developments in the town will be hitting the market while this phased redevelopment takes place, helping to alleviate some of the housing crunch for tenants.

“I also feel there’s going to be a net gain to the environment,” he added.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com