At last night’s marathon council session, council ultimately decided to delay the decision until early November (either the 7th or 14th). Baptist Housing apparently faces a deadline of November 10th for their funding, which is intertwined in the Mount View property in Saanich, so this delay still allows them to complete the deal.
The plan has changed somewhat, with the building dropping by one metre and pulling back towards Cadboro Bay Rd, at the cost of four mature Garry Oak trees, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy neighbours, who were fairly unanimous in saying they felt that the project was rushed and out of scale with the neighbourhood.
Another bone of contention was the revelation that although the plans were filed initially in late May, it wasn’t until August that they were brought forward. The delay was at the request of Baptist Housing, although whether they had to for legal reasons or not is unclear.
Baptist Housing did promise to work with the neighbours on the design, although it seems fairly clear that the total number of beds, 320, isn’t going to change, as that is part of the 550+ that Baptist Housing has said it will provide to VIHA between Oak Bay Lodge and Mount View. Councillor Ney did wonder why Oak Bay got the larger number, but Baptist Housing said that Mount View is already a 7-story building.
After Baptist Housing meets with the neighbours, it will head back to Council on October 24th, likely to be sent for the legally-required public notification period of two weeks, which brings the decision back either on November 14th or the 7th, depending on if council decides to hold a special council meeting that night.
As a final aside, likely this will be Mayor Causton’s final major decision, as he mentioned that when he first arrived as mayor, his first was sewage. He laughed as he said there was “no link”.