A public hearing was held on June 29 to discuss a zoning amendment bylaw for the proposed multi-storey residential development at 221 Dalton Road in Willow Point.
City council approved first and second reading of the bylaw on May 31, 2021. If adopted, the zoning amendment would change the maximum density for the property, allowing the proponent to construct a building with 60 rental units — an increase from the 37 allowed under the property’s current high density residential designation, approved in 2005.
This increased density would allow for the provision of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, according to the proponent, WestUrban Developments Ltd. Affordable rental housing was identified as a need in the City of Campbell River’s Housing Needs Report, 2021 to 2025, published in August 2020.
But responding residents of the surrounding neighbourhood are largely opposed to the development.
At the first and second reading of the bylaw, the city received 31 letters, of which 30 were in opposition and one in support, said Megan Norman, senior development planner with the city, during the hearing. These were followed by 18 more letters received by the city, all of which are in opposition, at the public hearing phase. Additionally, the city received a petition of 561 signatures — though some came from outside of the city — in opposition to the development.
Reasons for opposition included concerns regarding increased traffic, altered safety for pedestrians due to the lack of sidewalks on Dalton, the density of the building related to surrounding residences, and concerns about impacts to sunlight and views, among other issues.
Despite this, businesses around Willow Point have been supportive of the development, as the applicant submitted 68 signatures in support from owners and employees of local businesses, said Norman.
“It will support local businesses by having more people living nearby,” said Cameron Salisbury, development manager with the company, during the hearing.
While WestUrban is proposing 23 more units than what is currently allowed, the building would actually be one story lower and have a smaller overall footprint should the change be approved, said Salisbury. Furthermore, it would provide for a more affordable, efficient and varied array of housing, he said.
But city staff are recommending the proposal not be approved, because the application does not meet the neighbourhood designation objectives and policies within the city’s Sustainable Official Community Plan (OCP), said Norman.
“So in terms of just looking at Dalton Road, this would be in a sense out of character, compared to what’s existing along Dalton road presently,” she said.
The next stage for the proposal is third reading and council approval or rejection.