Ladysmith councillors are going to pull their hiking boots on, and go take a look at the potential impact of a request by Glencar Consultants Inc. to place 141 upscale strata units on what is known as the Arbutus Hump.
The proposal is part of the 55 hectare Holland Creek project southeast of the dip in Dogwood Drive, extending almost to the Heart Lake trail. Proponents of the project plan to develop 610 units there, including 300 residential lots, over the next 20 to 30 years.
Included in the mix would be 141 multi-family units on the east slope of Arbutus Hump, which is located at the western tip of their wedge shaped parcel. “This is the best view location on the site,” Glenn Carey told council, “and it has the best sun exposure on the site.”
But their request to put higher density multi-family units onto the site instead of 2,000 sqr. metre Estate Single Family lots, and to push the development higher up the slope, may run counter to the Holland Creek Area Plan (HCAP), which designates Arbutus Hump as “a special natural feature and viewscape.”
Director of Development Services Felicity Adams said the community’s long-term vision in the HCAP is “to protect Arbutus Hump and its hillside as park and open space.”
Another consideration is provision of fire fighting services. The areas of Arbutus Hump designated as park under the HCAP are also above the 130 metre limit that can be provided with water pressure adequate for fire fighting.
Carey noted in his remarks to council that the boundary being sought is 25 meters below the highest point of Arbutus Hump, which is located on an adjacent parcel to the north.
He also pointed out that a ‘finger’ of residential development has been permitted above 130 metres on the adjacent parcel. “The LAP (Local Area Plan) says the top of the Hump should be protected. We feel we have done that,” he said.
If multi-family development is not permitted higher up the slope in the Glencar proposal, there will be nowhere else to relocate the density. “We would be taking a big hit financially,” he said, noting that up to 46.7 per cent of the projected multi-family units in the overall project would be lost.
For Ladysmith that would translate into the potential loss of more than $1 million in Development Cost Charges; $345,000 dollars per year in property taxes; 172 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs, he said.
Carey said that the issue of water pressure could be resolved by installing pump station as part of the strata project. That would be expensive, he conceded, “But with that view it would be affordable.”
Because zoning has already been approved above 130 metres on the adjacent parcel, he added, “We’re not creating a new situation.”
Council directed staff to procede with other aspects of the Glencar rezoning application but postponed its decision of the Arbutus Hump until its Feb. 15 meeting.
Carey agreed to a request to mark the exising and boudaries, and those proposed for development up the east slope of Arbutus Hump soLadysmith council can visit the site and have a look for themselves before their Feb. 15 meeting.