In a continuation of a public hearing that lasted late into the evening June 15, Saanich council on Thursday (June 17) continued discussions around the Doral Forest Park proposal for Elk Lake Drive.
While the 11-storey, 242-unit residential development has been the subject of controversy, council moved the project to the next stage with a 7-2 vote, subject to a list of conditions.
An official community plan amendment and rezoning of the property are both required for the project to proceed. Final approval – no date was set to consider third and final reading – is also pending registration of a covenant to secure such things as electric vehicle and e-bike infrastructure, maximums on floor space ratio and number of units and more. No timeline was determined for the applicant to confirm these technical requirements.
Couns. Nathalie Chambers and Judy Brownoff voted in opposition of the development.
Chambers opposed the motion, saying it would impose on the urban containment boundary and put density too close to the agricultural land reserve. Brownoff’s opposition came from how close the development would be to the forest on the edge of Elk/Beaver Lake Park.
“I can’t support this density at the end of UCB and a natural regional park. I support a development more central on the property and further away from the park property line,” said Brownoff during discussions, adding that it will have an impact on ecosystems and wildlife.
Other areas of concern included traffic, height and density, and the potential impacts on trees, the environment and climate change.
The developers promised to work to ensure the project does not encroach upon the urban containment boundary, to take environmental concerns into account, and to ensure rooflines would be no higher than trees on the horizon line.
The covenant also includes a community contribution worth $700,000 to be used for two new transit stops, a new sidewalk and entrance to Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, a $500,000 contribution to the Saanich Affordable Housing Fund; facility upgrades at Saanich Commonwealth Place; an $80,000 contribution toward restoration of the Haliburton Brook Highway Trail, and $20,000 toward the Viewmont Avenue bikeway.
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