More information needed before proceeding on south Courtenay condo building: council

A 41-unit condo building is proposed at the Newport Village site at 3040 Kilpatrick Ave

A 41-unit condo building is proposed at the Newport Village site at 3040 Kilpatrick Ave. Photo submitted

A 41-unit condo building is proposed at the Newport Village site at 3040 Kilpatrick Ave. Photo submitted

Courtenay council will wait on more information from their staff prior to considering a 41-unit residential condo building in the south end of the city.

At the Sept. 7 council meeting, Bill Laidler and Sasha Rasovic from Newport Village Courtenay Developments Ltd. presented council with an application for rezoning of their property at 3040 Kilpatrick Ave., which is currently zoned for a single-story 24-hour drive-thru commercial facility.

Currently, Newport Village consists of a 74-unit condo building (phase 1) and a 58-unit apartment building (phase 2) with five commercial storefronts on the ground level.

If approved, Laidler said phase 3 would be complete between fall 2022 and spring 2023, and would be a five-story building with secure underground enclosed parking, bike storage lockers for each unit and every stall would have electric vehicle plug-in capabilities.

Additionally, the proponents would contribute $640,000 towards the cost of the Mansfield Sanitary Lift Station – something staff noted needs to be upgraded in the future, particularly to allow future development in the area.

The floor plans for the proposal would be similar to the present buildings and would feature at-grade visitor parking and rooftop amenities for all residents (two residential units would also be on the fifth floor).

When pressed on the issue of affordable housing by Coun. Doug Hillian, Rasovic noted they plan on offering $20,500 to the city’s affordable housing fund and noted there have been “high-level discussions” with city staff and they are prepared to offer five out of the 41 units to the affordable housing strategy at 25 to 30 per cent below the market sale price.

Hillian also raised this issue of parking – something he along with staff received comments from the public following a public information meeting on the proposed development.

Rasovic responded the issues primarily rose from the fact that there are several management agencies for investors who are renting their units in the phase 1 building and that some tenants have more than one vehicle. He added the issue has been rectified with some tenants moving out and following resale in phase 1, and the rental component is now down to 30 per cent.

Coun. David Frisch took issue with the size of the individual bike lockers and asked to clarify about the size, as he noted a 2ft x 3ft locker would be difficult to place one bike inside.

While a staff recommendation was to proceed with first and second reading of the rezoning bylaw with a housing agreement report to be required on the five affordable housing units, Coun. Melanie McCollum asked if a covenant could be included on the units to prevent flipping.

“…If the units sell, they (should be) 30 per cent below market value and have to be lived in by the owner.”

While Geoff Garbutt, the city’s chief administrative officer said the details of the affordable housing portion of the proposal would be available for the public hearing if council approves the motion to proceed, Frisch noted there are a lot of moving points.

“It sounds like it’s a sales strategy … I’d like to see that before a public hearing, and would like to request more information on the sizing of the bike lockers,” he said.

“For me, it’s a matter of process. First and second reading, we’re saying this is a reasonable application and we want to hear from the public … let’s find out what the proposal really is and what it really means. Selling something sub-market doesn’t mean it ends up as affordable housing … I think it’s worth waiting to see the information.”

The motion for first and second reading was withdrawn by Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton and a motion to refer the proposal to staff for more information was approved unanimously.

City staff confirmed the proposal will come back before council within a couple of weeks.

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