A multi-unit project with a long history in the Town of Qualicum Beach’s planning department received yet another development permit Monday night, its fourth since 2005.
The latest plan at The Crystal — previously called Crystal Terrace — calls for 38 units in two, five-storey towers on top of a shared parking structure at 3022 Island Highway West. The drawings and artists’ conceptions supplied to the town show a lot of glass, an elevator serving both towers from the middle and a development that is built into the bank so not all floors are above street level.
The plan does call for two variances from the Official Community Plan regarding height and setback. Director of Planning Luke Sales said the height variance (12.1 metres as opposed to the OCP’s seven metres) is “an acceptable solution to a very challenging site.” As for the setback — as in how far from the street the building starts — Sales said The Crystal has agreed to build a sidewalk in front of the entire length of the project, something he called “a real benefit.”
The motion to grant the development permit passed through council without any opposition. Sales suggested the changes in plans and dates by the developer was “predicated by the changes in the market the last couple of years.”
Before the vote councillors did have some questions. With the structures built into the bank and the elevator situated where it is, Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer experssed concerns about fire protection. Sales said all fire code concerns would be addressed at the building permit stage.
Coun. Scott Tanner wanted to know what was going to happen with the existing pilings at the site and Sales said they were all to be revmoved.
Coun. Mary Brouilette expressed concerns about landscaping and the current look of the site, and what it will look like between phases.
“It’s looked pretty bad for a pretty long time,” she said. “The citizens of Qualicum Beach are tired of looking at it.”
Sales said the issuing of the development permit is contingent on a number of items, including the improvement of the landscaping both current and future.
The Crystal was first issued a development permit — for five towers — in December of 2005. These permits are generally valid for two years before needing renewal.