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Nanoose Bay residents concerned about Schooner Cove development

<p>All that remains of the old hotel building at Fairwinds Landing is the framing. The building will be renovated to commercial services along with 11 residential units if approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo. (LAUREN COLLINS/Black Press)</p> -

All that remains of the old hotel building at Fairwinds Landing is the framing. The building will be renovated to commercial services along with 11 residential units if approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo. (LAUREN COLLINS/Black Press)

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The exterior demolition of the existing building at Fairwinds Landing is complete and now Seacliff Properties is just waiting for approval on a development permit from the regional district to commence work.

Ian Porter, Seacliff's director of real estate, said Seacliff is continuing to work through the approval process with the Regional District of Nanaimo to move forward with the initial phase of the development at Fairwinds Landing, even as a petition opposing the height of the proposed new structure has circulated.

If approved, Porter said, Seacliff "remains eager" to move forward with both the renovation of the existing building, the former hotel, into a mix of village-scale commercial services such as a coffee shop, pub or convenience store, along with 11 residential units and the adjacent 39-unit concrete residential condominium building.

According to the agenda from the July 11 RDN committee of the whole meeting, the development proposal is for a 50-unit residential complex, with additional commercial space, at Schooner Cove.

Building A would be the already-existing building at Schooner Cove, which would include 11 dwelling units. Building B would be a new, six-storey residential building.

A June 9 e-mail sent from Fairwinds said demolition work on the roof, exterior walls and siding of the existing building was "well underway." Porter said the exposed steel structure will be a feature of the renovated building.

Porter said this is a development that Fairwinds residents have been waiting a long time to see get underway. However, a number of residents in Fairwinds have started a petition against this specific development.

In a correspondence sent to the RDN on June 27, Stephanie and Mike Francis said people "do support the development of Fairwinds Landing in a manner that enhances the neighbourhood character and preserves all current residents' views, they do not support the development of a six-storey building in the proposed location."

The letter goes on to say the previous owner and community did a good job of including village amenities and the integration of housing into the natural landscape, "in particular housing which preserves views and natural vistas."

The correspondence also included a petition calling on Seacliff Properties to "stop the development of a 5 storey building in the mixed use waterfront village and to limit any building here to a maximum of 2 storeys." The petition's authors stated it had 99 signatures as of June 27.

According to the RDN's July 11 agenda, Building A would have a height increase of 30 cm, and Building B would have an increase in the maximum number of storeys permitted to six storeys from five, but it wouldn't increase the height. The area for Building B allows a maximum height of 31 metres, and Building B would come in below that at 30.8m.

Porter said he is aware of the petition, but added that Seacliff also "recently circulated a letter of support for residents to sign and to-date have received more than 350 signed letters of support from Fairwinds residents, with more coming in daily."

Porter said Fairwinds Landing will "trigger the start of an overall revitalization" of the waterfront and the marina.

"It will also mark the start of new housing forms being introduced into Fairwinds, adding to the predominantly single family nature of the community," Porter said.

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