A crowd of more than 150 filled the Comox Community Centre Thursday evening in Comox for a public hearing about a contentious mixed-use residential/commercial four-unit development at 695 Aspen Road.
Residents, former community members and representatives from the Highstreet Ventures development team spoke both for and against the project, which could see three four-storey residential apartment buildings and one four-storey mixed-use residential/commercial building.
The development would include 73 one-bedroom, one-bath units, 159 two-bedroom, two-bath units for a total of 208 market rentals and 24 for-sale condos. There would also be ground-floor commercial space for a total of approximately 1,000 square feet.
Highstreet, based out of Kelowna, is proposing $142,000 cash-in-lieu for the Town’s affordable housing reserve fund, to offer six units in the condo building at below cost as well as offering a portion of the ground-floor commercial space for a daycare.
Many residents of nearby Murrelet Drive spoke against the development, primarily that it is a “grossly oversized plan for the space,” said Bob Martin.
Bolt Avenue resident Ian MacDonald agreed.
“I believe this development as proposed will impact me in a variety of ways. A four-storey building will loom large – it does not compliment or blend well in the neighbourhood.”
However, Clarice Cody, who owns a condo that she rents out near the proposed development explained Comox has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the province, and supports the development.
“Our community is in desperate need for more residential units,” she added.
Scott Butler, president of Highstreet, addressed council and the crowd about halfway through the meeting.
“This is a relatively new experience – it’s a bit of an emotional experience because I’ve never received this much feedback (on a project),” he noted.
“It’s not like we’re proposing a meth lab; I’m not used to this opposition.”
The proposal, which is at second reading, will return to council prior to third reading.