Neighbours fear a proposed apartment building slated for the corner of Rockland and the Island Highway will cause the bank up above to come down as it did in January

‘How many victims?’ – Concerned residents question development

Residents living on the ridge above the Island Highway are raising the alarm over a proposed development that they fear could trigger another mudslide.

The owner of a vacant property at 1430 S. Island Highway, which is located just south of the intersection of Rockland Road and the South Island Highway, intends to build a 97-unit apartment building on the site.

In order to do so, the developer has applied to the city to re-zone the site from its current Commercial Five designation to Residential Multiple Three.

The property in question was formerly the site of the Marina Inn which was demolished in July of 2007 to make way for a new 74-unit hotel. The permit granted at the time for the new hotel, though, has since expired.

Now, the owner wants to build a residential complex that, under the city zoning, can be as high as 20 metres.

That concerns long-time Campbell River residents, Lynn and Rolly Hilton, who live at 1411 Galerno Road which is located on the ridge directly above the proposed development site.

At a public hearing Feb. 20 on a re-zoning application for the property, Lynn Hilton, on behalf of herself and her husband, told city council they have had the “misfortune” of living through two mud slides on the ridge.

The first was in 1980 and the second in 1998. She said the proposed development stirs her fears of another mudslide.

“We lost a substantial portion of our property on the ridge due to the 1998 slide,” Hilton said. “We have a very serious concern for our property with the proposed new development.”

The 1998 mudslide rolled into the back of the former Marina Inn and slid into a room on the lower floor being occupied by the inn’s entertainer, who fortunately was not in the room at the time. Prior to the slide, in 1996, Hilton said the owners of the Marina Inn felled trees along the bank.

And in the case of the 1980 slide, Hilton said an excavator was digging at the base of the slope, which forced tons of rock and mud through the back windows of what was then the Island Inn Motel.

Hilton said she worries another slide could do serious damage.

Hilton said she wants the city to conduct further geotechnical studies, and if recommended, to take steps to stabilize the high risk slope on the west portion of the property.

Hilton said in meetings with McElhanney Consulting, she and her husband were given assurances that the developer will stabilize the slope, but she wants to ensure they will follow through.

At the Feb. 20 public hearing, Mark DeGagne, a McElhanney engineer, said the developers are working “diligently” to address the neighbours’ concerns which they heard at a previous public consultation session.

“We had an issue in 1998 where the bank failed due to some excavating at the bottom of the bank and we have tried to assure (the Hiltons) that this development as proposed will not influence the bank in terms of excavation,” DeGagne said. “We have currently received a draft of the geotechnical report. I can tell you that preliminary conclusions are that there is an issue with the bank and with properly engineered solutions, the proposed building can function as intended with appropriate measures in place; most of those are centred around water management.”

Patrick Rowe, who resides at 1447 Galerno Road, said he’s not against development, so long as it’s carried out responsibly.

Like the Hiltons, he worries about the slope slipping and lives being lost.

“Should a slide occur in the depiction of the current proposal, then the rear-facing units most likely more than one unit, of the bottom two levels inhabited by humans could easily be involved, leading to severe injury and even death,” he said. “In how many victims?”

Rowe is also concerned that the height of the development will have a major impact if it were to go ahead.

The building is proposed to be 19.6 metes high, which falls within the 20 m height limit allowed under the re-zoning, as long as the building is at least three metres below the top of the bank.

But Rowe said that condition isn’t enough.

“The ‘three metres below the edge of the bank’ would not give protection to the residences and the owners to the west, above the bank,” Rowe said. “I am against having my rights, the viewscapes from my property, and its value diminished.”

He added that homes in his neighbourhood have been classified by the BC Assessment Authority as a Special Area for the Views.

“I presume we pay ‘special, higher’ taxes,” Rowe said. “Is the city prepared to refund us some of what we have paid in taxes and give us a vast reduction in our taxes?”

Chris Osborne, the city’s senior planner, said questions and concerns surrounding the form and character of the proposed building will be addressed during the development permit application process.

“It’s very important to re-state that this is just a concept and the design of the building, the form of the building, are matters to be dealt with at the development permit,” Osborne said. “Should this re-zoning pass, that does not imply approval of this building, that can only be done through a subsequent development permit.”

DeGagne said his hope is that council will approve the re-zoning so that the development can move to that next stage.

“There is a second opportunity for council to review this proposal at the next stage which is the development permit stage and I’m sure we can all come to an agreement on the final configuration for this building at that time,” he said.

Rowe said he, and other residents, would welcome an opportunity to sit down with the developers and city planners to come up with solutions to all of the neighbours’ concerns.

“If the city and the developer would like to sit down with us residents then I am sure that we could show how the bank can be stabilized and made a great deal safer and the parking problems could be sorted out and the safety access could be guaranteed, without losing too many units.”

mentthattheyfearcouldtriggeranothermudslide.

The owner of a vacant property at 1430 S. Island Highway, which is located just south of the intersection of Rockland Road and the South Island Highway, intends to build a 97-unit apartment building on the site.

In order to do so, the developer has applied to the city to re-zone the site from its current Commercial Five designation to Residential Multiple Three.

The property in question was formerly the site of the Marina Inn which was demolished in July of 2007 to make way for a new 74-unit hotel. The permit granted at the time for the new hotel, though, has since expired.

Now, the owner wants to build a residential complex that, under the city zoning, can be as high as 20 metres.

That concerns long-time Campbell River residents, Lynn and Rolly Hilton, who live at 1411 Galerno Road which is located on the ridge directly above the proposed development site.

At a public hearing Feb. 20 on a re-zoning application for the property, Lynn Hilton, on behalf of herself and her husband, told city council they have had the “misfortune” of living through two mud slides on the ridge.

The first was in 1980 and the second in 1998. She said the proposed development stirs her fears of another mudslide.

“We lost a substantial portion of our property on the ridge due to the 1998 slide,” Hilton said. “We have a very serious concern for our property with the proposed new development.”

The 1998 mudslide rolled into the back of the former Marina Inn and slid into a room on the lower floor being occupied by the inn’s entertainer, who fortunately was not in the room at the time. Prior to the slide, in 1996, Hilton said the owners of the Marina Inn felled trees along the bank.

And in the case of the 1980 slide, Hilton said an excavator was digging at the base of the slope, which forced tons of rock and mud through the back windows of what was then the Island Inn Motel.

Hilton said she worries another slide could do serious damage.

Hilton said she wants the city to conduct further geotechnical studies, and if recommended, to take steps to stabilize the high risk slope on the west portion of the property.

Hilton said in meetings with McElhanney Consulting, she and her husband were given assurances that the developer will stabilize the slope, but she wants to ensure they will follow through.

At the Feb. 20 public hearing, Mark DeGagne, a McElhanney engineer, said the developers are working “diligently” to address the neighbours’ concerns which they heard at a previous public consultation session.

“We had an issue in 1998 where the bank failed due to some excavating at the bottom of the bank and we have tried to assure (the Hiltons) that this development as proposed will not influence the bank in terms of excavation,” DeGagne said. “We have currently received a draft of the geotechnical report. I can tell you that preliminary conclusions are that there is an issue with the bank and with properly engineered solutions, the proposed building can function as intended with appropriate measures in place; most of those are centred around water management.”

Patrick Rowe, who resides at 1447 Galerno Road, said he’s not against development, so long as it’s carried out responsibly.

Like the Hiltons, he worries about the slope slipping and lives being lost.

“Should a slide occur in the depiction of the current proposal, then the rear-facing units most likely more than one unit, of the bottom two levels inhabited by humans could easily be involved, leading to severe injury and even death,” he said. “In how many victims?”

Rowe is also concerned that the height of the development will have a major impact if it were to go ahead.

The building is proposed to be 19.6 metes high, which falls within the 20 m height limit allowed under the re-zoning, as long as the building is at least three metres below the top of the bank.

But Rowe said that condition isn’t enough.

“The ‘three metres below the edge of the bank’ would not give protection to the residences and the owners to the west, above the bank,” Rowe said. “I am</span