Preliminary drawings of a proposed development at 285 Despard Ave. show three buildings, with commercial use on the main floor and three storeys of residential above. (MacDonald Gray Consultants image)

Preliminary drawings of a proposed development at 285 Despard Ave. show three buildings, with commercial use on the main floor and three storeys of residential above. (MacDonald Gray Consultants image)

Parksville council advances 3-building Despard development

Agencies will be consulted before first reading considered

Parksville council has advanced a proposed a three-building, mixed-use development to the public enagagment and agency consultation stage.

The developer has applied for an official community plan (OCP) amendment and zoning amendment that would facilitate a new comprehensive development zone that would permit four-storey multiple family residential buildings.

Preliminary drawings show three buildings with commercial use on the main floor and three storeys of residential above, as well as one level of underground parking. The site at 285 Despard Ave. is currently vacant and is located across the street from a Nanaimo Affordable Housing project and Quality Foods.

Members of council expressed concern about the reduction of commercial space, as earlier proposals showed enough room for a large, big-box type of commercial development.

“These are intended to be smaller commercial units,” said Nigel Gray, of MacDonald Gray Consultants. “The issue is that QF kind of stole our thunder on the commercial, to be perfectly honest, so any of those large retail spaces that we talked about last time that are lacking from our current commercial inventory have occurred over there.”

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Council also raised the issue of the proposed 4,000-square-foot public corner, in particular skepticism it would be used very much, since it would be at the intersection of two major roads.

“Nobody’s going to appreciate it because behind them it sounds like, well, freeway noise is not stress-free,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien.

The public corner is planned to be covered by the project’s $1,000 per potential unit financial amenity contribution. It will also cover $7,500 for a new eastbound left turn lane at the Despard Avenue and Craig Street all-way stop.

Before the OCP amendment and development amendment bylaws are given first reading, the applicant will provide opportunities for public engagement and there will be consultation with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Regional District of Nanaimo and School District 69.


kevin.forsyth@pqbnews.com

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