Hilchey Road development passed by council

A Vancouver developer has approval from city council to build an apartment complex on Hilchey Road despite objections from nearby homeowners

A Vancouver developer has approval from city council to build an apartment complex on Hilchey Road despite objections from nearby homeowners.

Alan Barnes, agent for the property owner Welsh Holdings, attended two council meetings and one public hearing to get a permit to re-zone 327 Hilchey Rd. to allow a multi-family development.

At the public hearing, residents along Hilchey and Galerno roads voiced several concerns they had with an apartment building in their neighbourhood.

Robin Cahill is upset several mature trees on the property will likely be torn down.

“There’s trees there that are probably 80-years old and for a city saying we’re green,” Cahill said at last week’s public hearing. “Putting in an apartment building two doors down from me is not how I planned to send my retirement years.”

Other neighbours were upset the apartment complex would create even more traffic on an already busy corridor and accident-prone intersection at Hilchey and Galerno.  Further concerns included flooding of nearby properties with the loss of the trees, and a change to the feel of the neighbourhood.

Scott McInnis questioned whether there is even a need for such a project.

“We don’t seem to have the demand to justify it,” said McInnis who also spoke at the public hearing. “If I read the local papers, I see a lot of vacancies.”

Council this week disagreed.

“There were comments made (at the public hearing) about the vacancy rate in Campbell River, which by all accounts, is average,” said Coun. Andy Adams, who figures once construction of the John Hart Dam Generating Station gets underway there will be a need for housing to accommodate any out-of-town workers.

Coun. Claire Moglove said she understood some of the concerns but supported the developer.

“Last week when we had the public hearing I listened carefully to what was said and there were concerns raised by members of the public but the vast majority of them will be dealt with at the building permit stage and some were not well-founded, i.e. the vacancy rate,” Moglove said. “I do believe though that the corner of Hilchey and Galerno is a problem and I would like to have that re-looked at, but it’s certainly not a factor in this re-zoning.”

Mayor Charlie Cornfield said he was not sure if people would have the opportunity to get involved at the building permit stage but told city staff neighbours should be included. He also understood the neighbours’ reaction to re-zoning.

“It’s a change to the neighbourhood and sometimes it’s hard for people to accept the change,” Cornfield said.