After hearing concerns from the neighbourhood, Courtenay council voted to postpone third reading of a housing proposal until it further discusses details with the developer.
OrrMoniz Projects Corp. of Vancouver has applied to construct 151 modular rental units on three lots that cover a 5.8-acre site at 2700 Mission Rd. near the hospital, college and Queneesh Elementary. The units are proposed to be affordable family housing rentals. The project requires rezoning from light industrial and single family residential to multi-residential use.
While he applauds the element of transitional housing, Coun. Manno Theos sympathizes with concerns about form and character that could change the complexion of the neighbourhood. He feels the project is not up to the standard seen in Courtenay in recent years.
“This project, from my first glance, looks like army barracks,” Theos said at the Feb. 16 meeting. “I’m really disappointed with this proposal.”
Although density can be beneficial, Theos worries that slums can result from poorly planned projects. He suggests patio homes would be more attractive.
Coun. David Frisch has no problem with the look of one big building, and is not concerned about the site becoming a slum. He noted that many seniors cannot afford patio homes. One aspect that bothers Frisch is the lack of green space.
“More communal green space would be nice,” said Coun. Melanie McCollum, who feels a large structure is not esthetically pleasing to an area with family housing.
Coun. Wendy Morin said it’s important to not lose sight that the developer has brought forth the idea of second stage housing, which is needed in the community.
“I think we can find a common ground here,” Morin said.
Coun. Doug Hillian, who motioned for the postponement, said some residents are overwhelmed with the pace of change in the neighbourhood. He also noted concerns about traffic, and about impacts to the school community.
Matt Fitzgerald, manager of development planning, said Queneesh is under capacity and should be able to accommodate more students. Theos doubted the accuracy of this statement, considering other developments in the area, most notably the two apartment buildings under construction at 2600 Mission Rd.