Oak Bay United Church, in their latest newsletter, has mentioned the outcomes of their previously described public consultation process. They indicate there was “overwhelming support for affordable housing.”
While there was support it certainly was not overwhelming. I attended one of those sessions and have talked to many who attended the other sessions. Neighbours at these meetings voiced concerns with the overall size of the proposed project, its height, density and how traffic and parking issues would be addressed.
The church has stated they have reviewed a number of different development options for the site and that the only one that would work is affordable housing. Despite asking a number of times what other options were researched the question has not been answered.
Mayor Nils Jensen has suggested the church look to the St. Patrick’s church housing development for inspiration. Many I have spoken with feel this development, representing one of the many forms of affordable housing, should serve as a model for the OBUC. The neighbours are adamant that the development be appropriate for the site and neighbourhood.
While the church, on numerous occasions, has informed council and the press that there will be extensive neighbourhood consultation, to date this has not happened. The neighbourhood residents look forward to a more open dialogue with the church’s development team.