Courtenay council has approved second reading of a rezoning to build a five-storey apartment containing 118 rental units and underground parking at 1025 Ryan Rd. near Superstore. The apartments would be a mix of micro units (less than 29 square metres), studios, one bedrooms and two bedrooms.
The applicant — Veyron Properties Group — is offering to cap the rental rates for six units at $812.50 per month.
Coun. Doug Hillian said that amount is affordable by some standards but not by others.
“Frankly, that’s not affordable,” Coun. Wendy Morin said at the April 27 meeting. She has concerns about rental rates for the micro and studio units. “People who are paying $800 a month right now are not considering that affordable.”
Coun. Manno Theos feels that six units at this rental rate will not benefit many people. He sees more sense in renting some of the one bedrooms for $812.50.
Theos questions if all the units will be filled, considering the number of residential developments in the neighbourhood. He also feels the City is not addressing traffic issues in this area of East Courtenay.
“I see there’s much more that could have been done with this piece of land,” said Theos, who favours a mix of residential and commercial. “I think this would have been a key spot to add some professional offices that are desperately needed in that area.”
Though encouraged by the application, Coun. David Frisch is also concerned abut transportation.
“This is probably one of the worst areas for alternate transportation,” he said.
Coun. Melanie McCollum sees a need to provide transportation infrastructure “outside of what’s already there.”
While the growth of commercial buildings has stagnated, a staff report says the area has attracted new housing developments, such as a 79-unit apartment at 911 Braidwood Rd. The City has also received an application for a 161-unit seniors complex at 925 Braidwood Rd.
Matt Fitzgerald, manager of development planning, notes another applicant hopes to construct a hotel nearby on Hunt Road.
A public hearing needs to be held before council grants third reading.
CAO David Allen expects the province to announce that public hearings can be conducted electronically during the COVID crisis.