The following letter has been sent to Saanich Mayor and Council from the CBRA regarding the proposed townhouses at 2590–2598 Penrhyn St., in the runup the Council hearing on the development on Monday April 29th:
April 23, 2019
Mayor and Council
District of Saanich
780 Vernon Ave.,
Victoria BC V8X 2W7
RE Development application for townhouses at 2590, 2594 & 2598 Penrhyn Street (Osprey)
This letter addresses the above application to be reviewed by Council on Monday April 29. Based on extensive community input, the Cadboro Bay Residents Association is opposed to this development in its present form. Its scale and design are out of character with the neighbourhood near Gyro Park. It will also significantly overshadow some adjacent properties. The Official Community Plan states that “Maintenance of neighbourhood character is of paramount importance when considering new developments within established areas.”
Opinions on neighbourhood fit were first canvassed by CBRA in a community-wide survey when the development was initially proposed. A large majority expressed a preference for a smaller scale, 2 storey development which would blend into the Gyro Park neighbourhood of chiefly single-family homes. It should have wider setbacks and more green space, try to preserve existing sea views, and minimize the effect of the additional vehicle traffic it will create.
Despite pleas for change, the scale and fundamental design have remained essentially the same since 2016. The community’s continuing concerns have been conveyed to Saanich and the applicant in letters from CBRA dated October 14, 2016, June 26, 2017, November 2, 2017 and July 4, 2018. Engagement with the applicant has yielded little compromise.
The views expressed in the survey continue to be reaffirmed. In 2018 over 150 local residents participated in Saanich’s Local Area Plan (LAP) workshops on the future of the Cadboro Bay Village area. A consensus vision of lower Penrhyn Street – the short block leading to Gyro Park – was captured in a sketch by the planning experts leading the discussion. (see overleaf).
The drawing shows a tree-lined pedestrian promenade with low small-scale infill housing leading to the park and beach. Pedestrians are protected by a turning circle and raised walkway. On the site of the three lots, we see low, peaked-roof townhouses. In addition to blending in, their size is likely to be more affordable than the 3-storey ~1800 sq. ft. townhouses being proposed.
CBRA requests that Mayor & Council affirm the LAP & OCP by requiring the applicant to:
(1) significantly redesign and reduce the scale of the development to fit with the neighbourhood, reflecting the community survey and the 2018 LAP workshop vision for lower Penrhyn street;
(2) resolve the concerns of individual affected neighbours including overshadowing, setbacks, views and potential drainage impacts;
(3) mitigate the added vehicle traffic by providing a sidewalk, a turning circle (mid-block ~ just before 2590 Penrhyn street) and a raised walkway to the park entrance.
CBRA asks that this application not proceed further until these major changes have been made in consultation with staff, CBRA and neighbours.
We also ask that geotechnical fieldwork and studies be completed and results shared so that a pre-approval assessment can be made of risks such as water diversion from the development and the feasibility of sinking the building down below grade, without which the height would have to rise.
Eric Dahli, Chair
Cadboro Bay Residents Association
- District of Saanich,
- Sharon Hvozdanski, Director Planning
- Chuck Bell, Planner,
- Beaucore Holdings Ltd ~ attention: Mark Johnston & Associates, 1815 Belmont Ave., Victoria BC V8R 3Z3