The City of Victoria is scheduled to consider a development taking over the former home of the Pic-A-Flic video renal shop in Cook Street Village. Pic-a-Flic had been on site for 35 years and moved in 2018.
The proposed four-storey residential building will host 48 units, including 11 one-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom units. In addition there are 535 square metres of commercial floor space on the ground floor.
When developer Aragon Properties Ltd. first purchased the properties in 2017 it proposed six storeys, but after significant discussion with the community, reduced it to four along with other accommodations.
In 2018 the City of Victoria had asked the developer to go back and assess the project’s ability to include affordable housing units.
Aragon concluded this would not be possible without third-party funding from the province, and that in this case the entire project would have to be redesigned.
“We believe a full re-design would ultimately result in a building which the community will not be satisfied with. However, we do recognize the need to provide affordable housing in Victoria and thus have decided to make a contribution to the Affordable Housing Reserve fund,” wrote Lenny Moy, president of Aragon (Cook) Properties Ltd.
In lieu of supplying affordable housing units, Aragon has offered nearly $500,000 in funds to the city, including $136,163.47 in Community Amenity Contributions (CAC). Aragon had also tried to subsidize rent in its commercial strata unit at 2-280 Cook Street to allow for a daycare with reduced rent, but was ultimately outvoted to the building’s strata. Instead, Aragon will offer the reduced rent, a total of $161,356.80, to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. Aragon is also offering the strata space to the City for use as an activity centre at a price 25 per cent below market value, a discount of $181,250.
“We sincerely believe that this project will be a positive addition to the Cook Street Village community and we are satisfied that we have met our goal to go above and beyond the City’s policies which were current at the time of their application,” Moy wrote.
Council is still scheduled to discuss the proposition at the committee of the whole on Thursday, with staff recommending a first and second reading before sending the project to a public hearing.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 issues, public hearings are currently postponed.