Residents concerned about apartment proposal near Courtenay hospital

Courtenay council approved second reading of an application for a pair of apartment buildings near the new hospital in Courtenay.

Woodsmere Holdings of Victoria proposes to construct two, four-storey buildings at 2600 Mission Rd. They will contain a combined 94 apartments: 16 three-bedrooms, 46 two-bedrooms and 32 one-bedrooms.

“The project creates an attractive streetscape along Veterans Memorial Parkway, with access points as right-in and right-out on both Veterans Memorial and Mission Road,” Woodsmere representative Steven Hurst said Monday, Nov.4 at council. “We feel rental apartments are what’s required today.”

The company has incorporated 54 bicycle stalls, six electric car chargers and two amenity areas with pergolas. The complex will contain a caretaker suite. Hurst said two full-time, onsite staff members will oversee day-to-day operations.

The company hosted a neighbourhood meeting, which drew 44 people. Area residents harbour a number of concerns, largely traffic-related, as well as building height and new neighbours.

A resident at Walbran Drive suggests that student housing planned for construction at North Island College, combined with the 94 units, will increase traffic and at times delay emergency access to the hospital.

“Would you want your relatives delayed access to medical care in an emergency?” the resident states in a letter to the City. “High density housing is also accompanied by various social issues such as higher crime rates.”

Hurst said transportation engineers have determined peak-hour traffic generated by the project would be 42 trips, and that traffic volumes will be low and have “negligible impact on the surrounding road network.”

Another resident said the addition of balconies on four-storey buildings will increase noise in the area.

Several residents at Valley Vista Estates on Muir Road feel the proposed entrance at Veterans Memorial is too close to their entrance.

Woodsmere has yet to set rental rates, which Hurst said will be dictated by the market and construction costs.

A public hearing about the proposal is set for 5 p.m. at the Nov. 18 council meeting.

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