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89-unit development at East Porpoise Bay Road corner passes first reading

The developer is to hold a public information session and provide a transportation impact assessment and parking study for the busy intersection and surroundings – among other reports – before second reading.
Proposed development at the corner of Porpoise Bay Road and Wharf Avenue.

The future of a “key piece” of Sechelt – the southeast corner of the Wharf Avenue and East Porpoise Bay Road intersection – was up for discussion Aug. 2 as council considered a rezoning application.

District of Sechelt Council passed first readings of a rezoning for Vidorra Developments’ 89-unit, four-building project at 5700 East Porpoise Bay Road.

The developer proposes to amalgamate use of four properties, knock down the existing house on each, and over the combined 5,617 square metres, build 49 saleable units and 40 market rentals, to be secured as rental housing through a housing agreement. Also proposed are 85 underground parking spaces and 17 on-street parking spaces, where the zoning bylaw would require 123 spaces.

An Official Community Plan amendment sees the density of the lots increased to 159 units per hectare from 100 and to a 1.5 Floor Area Ratio from 1.4. A Zoning Bylaw amendment would see a new zone – Comprehensive Development 8 (CD8)– formed for the site using density bonusing for the desired housing, changing it from its current Residential Four Urban Infill (R4) zone.

While councillors were generally in agreement that the busy intersection, which sees industrial and residential traffic flowing from the east side of Sechelt, is terrible, the majority were in favour of moving forward with the development, with the understanding there would be mitigation measures.

Coun. Dianne McLauchlan was the sole vote in opposition. “The noise, the main intersection there along Wharf with the trucks and the float planes, etc., from an urban design point of view, [it] is not really a good place to put…this kind of housing at this density.” Asked where a good site would be, she responded, “just about anywhere else.”

More reports, public information session to come

Coun. Alton Toth pointed to the transportation impact assessment required as part of the rezoning, that it would look not only at the intersection but the area around it. The future of Ti’ia Way as an industrial route was also raised. “Getting gravel trucks off of Wharf is probably a good idea in the long run anyways,” he said.

Coun. Darren Inkster, while cautioning that this is a critical piece of land for Sechelt and that a “thorough discussion will be necessary,” said that the site is underutilized. “We need to make use of that land. There's a proposal that's come forward to put the density at that corner. I'm okay with that.”

The developer is now instructed to hold a public information session and before second reading required to produce a water supply demand reduction and conservation report, a transportation impact assessment and parking study, a preliminary servicing report, a shadow study and a community amenity contribution offer letter.

– With files from Keili Bartlett