Unhappy approval

Parksville city council basically forced to approve project they don't like

Parksville council is still not happy with a proposed 62-unit “patio home” development proposal beside city hall, but were forced to give it the green light.

“This is not a good use of that property. It should be high-density, three-four plus stories, with commercial on the ground floor,” councillor Al Grier said to start the discussion.

He reiterated the background in the staff report, pointing out the property owners had been looking at a bigger project years ago but shifted to the low-density, single-storey homes after the 2008 recession.

Council approved a development permit for the property in December 2010, since the proposal fit within the existing zoning. The two-year permit had expired and the applicant, Josh MacLean from West Vancouver-based MacLean Homes, was applying for a renewal at Monday’s meeting.

“We feel this is the project people are looking for in Parksville,” MacLean Homes marketing manager David Webster said later. “People want to live closer to the city core and be able to walk downtown,” he said, adding they “just don’t see a market for” a higher-density project.

He said they would obviously prefer to build a larger-scale project if they thought the market would support it.

“I just think its a very, very poor location for such a development,” Greir concluded. “It’s a poor tax base for the city, so my vote is a protest vote, I won’t be supporting it.”

“It is, in my opinion, a poor use of such a great location,” agreed Coun. Carrie Powell-Davidson, who was followed by similar statements from councillors Bill Neufeld and Sue Powell, reaching a majority of the seven-person council.

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