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Parksville council approves development permit for Wembley Road project

Two-building, 116-unit development will be net zero energy ready: developer
Parksville council approved a development permit for a 116-unit residential development at 413 Wembley Rd. Rendering shows corner of Wembley Road and Church Road. (Parksville city council agenda)

Parksville council has approved a development permit for a two-building, 116-unit development at the intersection of Wembley Road and Church Road.

The 1.04-hectare property at 413 Wembley Rd., across the street from Wembley Mall, was rezoned from single-family residential to high-density residential back in November.

Since then, the developer has made a number of changes based on recommendations by the advisory design panel (ADP), according to Eric Delorme of Highstreet Ventures Inc.

“This community at 413 Wembley Rd. will be net zero energy ready, will have no natural gas running to the site, eliminating typical GHGs, or greenhouse gases, associated with residential developments,” Delorme said during a presentation to council’s Feb. 5 meeting.

The developer will implement ADP recommendations which include improved pedestrian connections, accessibility and reconfigured floor plans in east building to provide more amenities for tenants and guests.

“I thought we had a good project before the ADP saw it, now with your changes and adjustments I think we have a great project,” Mayor Doug O’Brien said.

Coun. Amit Gaur said he is concerned with the number of trees that will be cleared from the site to make way for construction.

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“This looks like a beautiful picture,” he said, in reference to renderings of the finished project. “But I would admit most of the green space is outside of this proposed development site.”

Gaur added he opposed the project since “there was an opportunity that was missed in incorporating more of the natural areas” and also based on opposition he heard from the public.

Residents expressed concerns including increased traffic, downed trees, risks to pedestrian safety, the city’s water supply and further strain on the fire department during a public hearing in November.

Coun. Sean Wood said he liked the project since it will meet Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code and increases housing density close to services.

Council voted to issue the development permit, with Gaur opposed.