Neighbouring community groups have expressed outlying concerns regarding the proposed development to replace the vacant Cordova Bay Plaza.
The proposal is for three mixed-use buildings, each of them four storeys and each with a commercial ground floor with three storeys of residential units above, for a total of 91 units. It includes a grocery store, bank and restaurant, among other retail spaces. There’s also underground parking and a total of 324 parking spots.
Saanich Planning has approved the project move ahead to Saanich council, where it will no doubt be contested by residents when it comes up at the Jan. 29 committeee of the whole.
The Cordova Bay Village Vision group (CVVG), which has brought myriad concerns with this and other new proposals in the village, is against the height of the development, among other items. Steve Corner is a member of CVVG, and says there are multiple problems in the proposal in relation to existing zoning regulations.
It’s Corner’s belief that the proposal is beholden to too many varying restrictions between the local area plan and development permit area guidelines.
“[If it goes ahead] it will tell developers that anything goes, that restrictions and expectations contained within LAP’s and DPA guidelines can be ignored anywhere in Saanich,” Corner said.
President Larry Gontovnick of Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs acknowledged the significant efforts of the applicant, designed by architect Alan Lowe, to address CBA concerns in the original application to Saanich.
However, “there are significant concerns with the revised application that still need to be addressed by the applicant and Saanich,” Gontovnick said.
The biggest ask from the CBA is to lower Building 3 to three storeys, and to further set back the third and fourth storeys of Building 1, which is accessed off Cordova Bay Road.
How that would happen would likely require a variance approval. Gontovnick suggests the removal of a storey on Building 3 could be added, through variance, as a fifth floor on Building 2, or by redistributing the permitted density to reduce height of the buildings that front Cordova Bay Road.
The CBA would also like to see a traffic control with crosswalks installed at the corner of Doumac and Cordova Bay roads, be it a small roundabout or traffic lights. The current proposal, designed in partnership with Saanich Planning, would introduce a left turn lane (northbound) onto Doumac.
The CBA is also asking for an improved traffic solution at the entrance and exit off Cordova Bay Road for one of the two buildings and a bus pull-out in front of the plaza to maintain smooth traffic flow. (A partially protected bike lane is proposed on the west side of Cordova Bay Road.)
There is also a CBA request for a “beachier” appearance to the exterior finish of buildings.