Some residents in Colwood are worried a number of Garry oak trees will be torn down to make way for a 48-unit apartment building on Belmont Road. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Resident concerned over potential loss of trees in Colwood

Development near Belmont Park would add 48 rental units

A Colwood resident is expressing concern over the potential loss of some Garry oaks that could be torn down to make way for a new rental building.

The one-acre site at 284 Belmont Rd., near Belmont Park, is mostly concrete, however, nestled behind the lot is a Garry oak meadow. The site is zoned to allow for the construction of a 48-unit apartment building.

Developer Stride Properties will be construcing the four-storey building, which will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, as well as underground parking, on the front half of the property bordering Belmont Road.

But the plans have some residents concerned.

Brenda, who lives next to the site, said she’s worried about increased traffic in the area, reduced parking and the potential loss of trees.

“It doesn’t fit because that condo that I live in takes all the parking that is available … there’s already no parking. It’s going to be horrendous,” said Brenda, who did not want to use her last name as she was formerly a victim of abuse. “There’s people who want to protect the trees.”

She believes some of the trees have hummingbird nests in them as well.

According to the City of Colwood, there is a covenant on the rear part of the property that contains the meadow. The covenant area protects over 40 per cent of the property.

Matt Peulen, with Stride Properties, said some trees on the front part of the property that are not protected by the covenant will have to come down, but wouldn’t specify how many since a tree analysis has not yet been completed.

“There will be some trees on the front half of the property yes [that will be coming down], but the full rear back of the property will be dedicated to parkland, where the majority of trees and vegetation are,” he said, adding he’s been listening to residents’ concerns about the project for the past year.

“We’re doing our best to work with the neighbours and making it look as attractive as possible.”

Any trees that will be removed will need to be replaced at a ratio similar to the Urban Tree Bylaw requirements. Peulen said they’re still in the process of applying for a second development permit on the site, as the previous one expired in April of last year. A final detailed tree retention plan is also still in the works, and would need council approval.

If all goes according to plan, Peulen hopes to have occupants move in around fall 2019.

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