Colwood development draws ire of residents

Developer says he’s listened and addressed residents’ concerns

For Karen Lines, driving up Sooke Road to her home in Colwood is like heading into a forested oasis.

She leaves behind the big-city feel and turns onto Lynnlark Place, where she has lived for the past 46 years, and enters a quiet neighbourhood at the end of a cul de sac – a place where the same neighbours have lived for decades and look out for each other.

But Lines believes that neighbourhood feel could be in jeopardy with a proposed development at 2330, 2342, 2344 and 2344B Sooke Rd.

As part of the development, Beacon-Carmanah Developments Ltd. is proposing to build 18 townhomes bordering Lynnlark Place, 32 apartments along Sooke Road, and a five-and-a-half storey building with 27 condos and underground parking on the site over a two-year period.

But not everyone is happy with the proposal.

Dozens of residents attended a meeting recently to express their thoughts on the development.

Some residents were concerned about the lack of privacy, and an increase in traffic in the area that the development would bring, as well as the loss of green space including native plants such as chocolate lilies, trilliums, lady’s slippers orchids, shooting stars, and mature Garry Oak, arbutus and fir trees.

Lines, who lives a stone’s throw away from the proposal, began circulating a petition opposing the development last month, which has garnered close to 50 signatures and has been presented to council.

“The big thing for the residents is the density, the traffic that is going to increase and of course the privacy issues from the density,” said Lines, noting residents are not opposed to development, but would instead like to see more single-family homes in the area.

“It’s just an amazing thing that you feel when you drive home and that’s going to change drastically. We’re going to lose that welcoming green that brings us home and that’s one of the things that really hurts …We hope that council will look at this [development] fairly seriously.”

Developer Paul Atwal, who purchased the property in January, said he’s listened and addressed concerns from residents.

To ensure privacy for Lynnlark residents, they will add a fence around the entire property, preserve a number of existing trees and replant a couple hundred to act as a screen.

Atwal said they’ve also maintained a minimum 7.5 metre setback along the property, which is “significantly” more than what is required by the City’s Official Community Plan.

“We decided this was the best for residential, multi-family accommodations,” said Atwal, adding a traffic and parking study has already been completed, and arborists and biologists are working to preserve as much of the tree cover and natural habitats as possible.

“In this proposal we preserve 40 per cent green space. We’ll keep the nature the way it is right now … We think this area is going to be a good residential area for the neighbourhood.”

Beacon-Carmanah Developments Ltd. has been building duplexes, condos and single-family homes since 1992 and is responsible for several developments in Langford, View Royal, Saanich and Victoria. This is the company’s first development in Colwood.

The proposal has been submitted to the City for rezoning.

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