The City of Colwood is working towards adopting a bylaw that would limit the height of retaining walls built by developers. The extent of the massive wall fronting this Latoria Road development was a big reason for pursuing such a change.

Rock walls at issue in Colwood

Council looks to address future of retaining walls in the City

Colwood is hoping to keep more big walls from going up.

In an effort to allow the municipality to regulate massive retaining walls in developments, the City is crafting a bylaw that would limit the height of such structures and require developers to obtain a permit for their construction.

“This is consistent with what other communities have, we’re just catching up,” said Coun. Gordie Logan.

“It allows the municipality to regulate and protect neighbourhoods from overbearing retaining walls.”

At a council meeting on Jan. 25, council approved a draft recommendation to be forwarded to residents and stakeholders for consultation. Logan pointed to one wall near the corner of Latoria and Wishart roads as one that sticks out “like a sore thumb,” saying it is aesthetically inconsistent with the rest of Colwood.

Some area residents have even wondered about the potential safety hazards of living near such walls in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

“That type of retaining wall is something we are trying to avoid (in future), if at all possible,” Logan said. “Or at least give the City the tools to be able to regulate and work with the developer in designing (them).”

Retaining walls are often built by developers to hold back soil or rocks, typically in areas with elevation and steep slopes where construction happens at a higher point.

While it is still early in the process of creating a new bylaw, Logan said he hopes the proposal will move along relatively quickly, with a public open house to be scheduled sometime before the matter is brought to the City’s planning and land-use committee.

“This is a great move for Colwood and goes to resolve a number of issues moving forward,” he said.

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