A group of Campbell Riverites does not want to see three apartment buildings built on a property on Simms Creek, and have started a letter-writing campaign to let the city know.
Save Simms Creek is a campaign to stop the development of three apartment buildings on the property between South Alder Street and Galerno Road. The property, which is private property zoned RM-1, is slated to be developed into 200 units of market housing by West Urban Developments. The development first came to the attention of Deborah Broadley, one of the initiators of the campaign, after the developer asked for a variance related to utility lines for the property.
“I posted notices around the neighborhood and the word started spreading,” Broadley said.
After the developer requested a height variance for the buildings on the property, more people took an interest.
“We’ve just as a committee sort of taken it from there,” Broadley said. “We’re just trying to explore every avenue that we can to stop the development because that’s the overwhelming feeling of people that have been in contact with us in the neighborhood … this is really an unsuitable parcel of land to be building any development.”
The RM-1 zone was designated for the development of low-rise residences in multiple-family complexes within the low or medium density residential designation, typically one- and two-storey patio homes and townhouses,” the city zoning bylaw says. “But (it) may also include lower profile apartment-style complexes.”
“The development that’s proposed is 200 units comprising three large apartment buildings, each with two levels of underground parking and a proposed four levels of living area,” Broadley said. “It seems very borderline, I guess, in terms of fitting the purpose of RM-1 zoning.”
The main reason for the group’s interest in the project is to protect the Simms Creek watershed and nature corridor.
“I watched the world evolve. Why do we keep making these same mistakes around the environment and and by extension with climate change?” she said. “My children and grandchildren are going to ask me that question. What kind of answer can I give them? And so that’s why I’m standing up and speaking out in opposition.”
One of the issues that Save Simms Creek is facing is that this development does not require a rezoning from the city. That means that there is no need for a public hearing, except on the small variances for height, which is still to be granted, and for running underground power lines, which has already been granted. The group cannot speak in public city council meetings about the development. That is why they are working on a letter-writing campaign.
Broadley said that the Save Simms Creek group does acknowledge the need for housing in Campbell River.
“We’re not anti-development. We understand that housing is required in Campbell River,” she said. “Although we also know that it’s more affordable housing (that’s needed) and this is not going to be necessarily affordable housing.
”For people in Campbell River… It’s a bit beyond their ability to to pay the rents for these new newer buildings.
“This one is just the wrong development in the wrong place,” she said. “I also think that it’s the wrong direction for the city.”
More information can be found at savesimmscreek.ca.
The Mirror has reached out to WestUrban Developments for comment.
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