Colwood council has passed first and second readings of a controversial bylaw amendment that could pave the way for construction of four six-storey apartment buildings totalling 280 units, across two separate properties straddling Veterans Memorial Parkway and adjacent to Havenwood Park.
Council approved the first two readings by a 4-3 vote at the Feb. 14 meeting, with Couns. Cynthia Day, Doug Kobayashi and Stewart Parkinson opposed. The approval allows proponent BC Alta Developments to continue the process of public consultation. A vote on third reading and adoption of the bylaw amendment comes after that and if the project survives those steps, applications for development and building permits would follow.
BC Alta made its original application in December 2020 and submitted an updated plan in May 2021.
The existing zoning was created in 2014 to allow for a previous development to build 22 single-family homes.
Since BC Alta began the application process, residents living around Havenwood Park have been vocal in opposition, including creating an online petition that as of Feb. 17 had more than 3,800 signatures.
Concerns have been raised around the proposal’s environmental impacts on the park and on the number of rental units the project would actually provide.
In response to the environmental concerns, council asked the applicant in September 2021 to provide a more extensive report focusing on riparian, geotechnical and hydrogeological assessments. In December, city staff reported to council the additional reporting was satisfactory and recommended the application move forward to the bylaw reading stage.
On the rental concerns front, staff presented a memo to council highlighting a letter sent on behalf of the applicant, indicating they would be willing to accept a pair of covenants on the project which would prohibit any future strata from prohibiting rental units in any part of the project, and that the 100 units in the east lot be guaranteed as rental units for at least 10 years.
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