Rendering of a proposed mixed-used, multi-building development at 113 and 161 Island Highway West. - City of Parksville

Rendering of a proposed mixed-used, multi-building development at 113 and 161 Island Highway West. - City of Parksville

Parksville not ready for waterfront skyscrapers — yet

IAG Developments go back to drawing board after high-rise application deferred by council

Parksville is not ready to go high-rise on its downtown waterfront, at least not yet

Council for the mid-Island community has deferred an applications to amend its Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw to allow a multi-building mixed-use, high-rise development with the potential to transform its waterfront.

“I must say that I’m very disappointed in the fact that the developer has not made any attempts to compromise on their site plan. They have come back with the same building heights as the last time,” Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne said.

“It is my feeling that we cannot consider their request for 19 storeys. The building is 16 storeys and… the parking garage is three storeys. If you’re standing on the beach it would be 19 storeys for the one building and 15 storeys for the other and then they’re asking for four additional buildings of eight storeys.”

Council had asked staff to work with the applicant on reconsidering use, height and amenity aspects of the proposal on April 15.

“The proponent appears to be looking to keep their options open at this stage and would like the application to move forward to the public input process,” said city director of community planning Blaine Russell.

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The purpose of Mayne’s request for deferral, he said, is to allow the developer to go back and address the issues that council put forward and work with city staff on compromises to development.

“There’s almost 68,000 square feet of commercial and office space as well, that’s probably more space then all the rest of downtown Parksville. This site is extremely overbuilt for our community,” Mayne said.

Alex Watson, chief operating officer of IAG Developments, said the company has agreed to basically everything council has requested.

“The two things that we said we wanted to hold off on were discussions in regard to height of the project and discussions in regard to a community amendment donation which [council] are requesting basically a $500,000 payment to the City of Parksville on top of development cost,” Watson said. “We said that we didn’t think that was appropriate until we had the opportunity to take this project forward to the public to find out what public opinion was on the project.”

Watson said concrete parking is “incredibly expensive” and that density and height is needed to offset some of the cost.

“We wanted to discuss that with the public and this time the mayor, he chose to not even have a discussion on it and I guess that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” Watson said. “Right now we’ve gone back to the drawing board and we’re going to review all of our options. We’re trying to figure out what’s the best way forward for us on this project because we can’t seem to get it in front of the public as a part of the development process.”

The application, from IAG Developments, includes the proposal for a six-building, mixed-use development next to the Beach Club Resort at 113 and 161 Island Highway West.

The proposal includes a 16-storey, mixed-use building on top of a multi-level parkade, with commercial and office space on the first three floors and permanent residential above. Also included is another 12-storey, mixed-use building on top of a multi-level parkade, an eight-storey, 64-room hotel building, an eight-storey rental apartment building, an eight-storey mixed-use strata apartment building and a two-storey brewpub with approximately 400 seats.

Approximately 299 residential units are proposed, 60 of which are being considered for rental. A city plaza, promenade and beach plaza are also part of the plan.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

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