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Dire shortage of three-bedroom apartments, says View Royal mayor

New development to feature wide range of rental units, amenities for tenants
A multi-building residential development on Erskine Lane in View Royal was approved by council on June 15. (Courtesy Town of View Royal)

View Royal took a huge stride toward addressing the need for more rental housing with a go-ahead for 336 units.

View Royal council approved the project at its June 15 meeting, clearing the way for four buildings on Erskine Lane near Victoria General Hospital.

The project by WestUrban Developments includes 160 one-bedroom, 120 two-bedroom, 40 three-bedroom, and 16 studio units in four five-storey buildings, with two levels of underground parking. The buildings are angled with butterfly rooflines to lessen the impact of the quadrants.

View Royal Mayor David Screech said the project fits the Official Community Plan and is a good development in a location that suits that level of density. He was also pleased the project includes three-bedroom units.

“There’s a dire shortage of three-bedroom units in Victoria in general,” he said.

Ten per cent of the units will be affordable housing as per BC Housing guidelines, and the developer will provide $1.2 million in amenities.

Council has not addressed how the amenity funds will be used at this time. “We’ll be getting feedback from the community on that,” Screech added.

There were some concerns raised about the density of the project including traffic and safety along Erskine Lane and Watkiss Way, and the retention of trees. Screech said the developer and council worked hard to address those, with plans that include a roundabout, upgrades to Erskine Lane and Watkiss Way, as well as the addition of sidewalks and a bus pad.

“I understand there’s always concerns with a development that size in any neighbourhood,” he said. This project addresses the need for affordable housing and environmental sustainability, Screech noted.

The developer is providing tenants with four vehicles for car-sharing for five years, bikes for sharing, and free bus passes for a year, said Sarah Alexander, director of development for WestUrban development.

Adding benefits for the tenants that help support View Royal’s OCP and goal of shifting vehicle trips to greener options was important, she noted.

“We don’t believe there’s another development like this in View Royal,” Alexander said. “This project demonstrates the true integration of the natural environment with urban design.”

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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