Several residents of Colwood spoke up at a recent council meeting to express their frustration with nearby blasting work.
The blasts, related to prep work for the Elevation Pointe development on Latoria Road, came without proper notice and have caused structural damage to their homes, multiple residents claimed.
“Living next to a blasting site is like living next to a war zone,” one resident said, adding that notices are often not received and that audible warning signals are only sometimes heard.
The resident went on to say blasting mats haven’t always been effective in containing rock debris. “We already have a significant crack across our crawl space floor, our fireplace tiles are being held in place with duct tape and our kitchen cabinets are falling away from the wall.”
Other residents of the Propeller Place condo, known as Pondview, voiced similar concerns during the public participation portion of the meeting.
John Newton, president and general manager for Homewood Constructors, which is developing the properties at 517 and 535 Latoria Rd. as part of Elevation Pointe, said in an interview that the company recognizes there have been issues in the past with blasting in terms of the neighbours. He sympathizes with residents and their issues, but noted that the amount of rock at the site has turned what was expected to be an 11 or 12-month preparation period into more than two years.
“When you have 30 months of this going on, it just gets tiring,” he said. “We want to be finished as much as they want us to be finished.”
Newton said he met with three residents of Propeller Place to try and explain how recent changes to the design of the development would help minimize the amount of blasting required. He added that insurance adjusters will eventually go through people’s homes to determine what damage may be attributed to blasting, but it’s important they know what the homes looked like beforehand.
Later in the meeting council discussed and approved variance requests for the Homewood portion of Elevation Pointe, and a partial variance for the portion at 543 Latoria Rd., being developed by Fulla One Ventures.
The permits will allow increased coverage from 35 per cent to 40 per cent on several lots to “create a more functional floor plan and increase floor area on the upper levels,” stated a City staff report. This will allow buildings to have only a single level visible from the street and improve the esthetics of the neighbourhood, the report read.
Coun. Rob Martin stressed that the variance decisions were separate from the blasting concerns raised earlier. “It’s not as though we’re not listening or that we’re avoiding the discussion,” he said.
Council also spoke about what Coun. Jason Nault characterized as a large number of development variances given to developers by the City, something he would like to see addressed.
“We have a 30-lot subdivision … (we) have provided over 52 variances,” Nault said. “To me, that is incredibly poor planning.”
He put forward a successful motion to have a report done on what can be done to address the number of variances coming before council and committees.
–with files from Don Descoteau