Colwood Councillors Shari Lukens

Residents sway favour against Royal Bay development

About 100 residents filled a meeting room at West Shore Parks and Recreation, specifically booked because of the number of people expected.

Colwood’s planning and land use committee voted unanimously Monday to recommend council deny the application for a development on Royal Bay Drive.

“We need to go back to the drawing board. I think that we can do better,” chair Shari Lukens said.

About 100 residents filled a meeting room at West Shore Parks and Recreation, specifically booked because of the number of people expected.

Resident Ian Pattullo said the result is a victory for the residents.

“That was the obvious conclusion. Whether or not we can actually get to the common ground they’re speaking about, that’s going to be a tough chore,” he said. “We are certainly willing and able to try.”

The issue was deferred after a committee meeting in May, when the developer was told to work with residents to come up with some sort of a compromise and then resubmit plans to the city.

In May the plans called for 70 units, including 55 attached townhouses and 15 residential apartments. The rejigged plan calls for 68 units and has added five corridors to the largest building to create view glimpses. As many residents and committee members complained, little else had changed.

Speaking on behalf of neighbouring residents, Andy Smith expressed his disappointment in the lack on communication between residents and the developer. After some initially positive conversations, Smith said the developer then submitted new plans with no notification and without having reached a compromise.

“I was optimistic that with help from the planning department and all the information I’ve amassed, that I would be able to convince the three parties to compromise,” Smith said. “After some discussion … it was clear there wasn’t go to be a compromise, there were going to be no substantial discussions with residents.”

His presentation was followed by loud applause from the gathered crowd.

The development is slated for 467 Royal Bay Dr., a cleared piece of land which abuts properties on Promenade Crescent.

Mike Wignall, who represented the developers, spoke of the need to increase density in order to produce a profit on the endeavour.

“Residential investment is not guaranteed,” responded committee member Shaun Eden. “Granting a variance on the basis of an argument for profitability… is not really a point that carries a lot of weight in and of itself.”

While most of the committee members stressed support for densification in general, none could support the plan as it stood, primarily because of the overwhelming dissent from residents.

The issue will go before city council at a future meeting, likely Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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