Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society is building a 56-unit, multi-residential development that will feature an apartment building with 48 rental units and a separate eight townhouses in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)

Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society is building a 56-unit, multi-residential development that will feature an apartment building with 48 rental units and a separate eight townhouses in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)

Residents raise concerns with height of affordable housing project in Qualicum Beach

Councillor says she has received a number of letters on the issue

Qualicum Beach residents are voicing criticism of town council for allowing an affordable housing to proceed, despite objections on the height of the building.

The residents claim a proposed development on town-owned property on Railway Street and Village Way violated a condition stipulated by council when they awarded the development permit last May, that the building should be four storeys high on any side.

Coun. Anne Skipsey said she has received a number of letters raising this issue. She wanted to know why the layout of the development shows a five-storey building instead of four. She asked town staff at the council meeting on Dec. 8 to explain.

Director of planning Luke Sales said there is a grade change on the development property that essentially makes one side of the building a floor lower. The original design, Sales said, was for a six-storey building on the lower side and five on the upper side of the site, which council found too high. The height was altered to make it to five storeys on one side and four on the other. Council voted to have the development to be four storeys all around.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach affordable housing project approved for funding from BC Housing

“Each side is four storeys,” Sales said. “If you look at it as a pure elevation counting from the bottom all the way up to the top it would be five but you have to keep in mind that that’s significantly recessed from the north elevation. So when you look at plans as an elevation it doesn’t actually communicate what you see on the site. It’s four storeys from the perspective of someone standing there. That fifth storey,which is on the recessed portion, isn’t visible and my understanding was that was the intent of council.”

Coun. Teunis Westbroek said he agreed with Skipsey that council direction on the building height was clear. But following Sales’s explanation, Westbroek said he wants to look at the design again.

Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society is building a 56-unit, multi-residential development that will feature an apartment building with 48 rental units and a separate eight townhouses. It is one of the four projects on Vancouver Island approved for a funding grant through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund.

Coun. Scott Harrison raised concerns that any more changes to the project could affect the town’s relationship with BC Housing.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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