Keeping trees important, says Dingwall housing project developer

A proposed multi-residential project on Dingwall Road is making retaining mature Douglas fir and spruce trees a top priority.

A proposed multi-residential project on Dingwall Road is making retaining mature Douglas fir and spruce trees a top priority.

A proposed multi-residential project on Dingwall Road is making retaining mature Douglas fir and spruce trees a top priority.

A proposed multi-residential project on Dingwall Road is making retaining mature Douglas fir and spruce trees a top priority. Courtenay council received an application from Muchalat Construction Ltd. Monday to amend the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and its zoning bylaw to allow for a 32-unit multi-residential development at 1577 Dingwall Rd. — The Dingwall Project.The 2.4-acre property is currently developed with a single-family home. The plans call for a mix of building styles with a common architectural theme. Unit sizes will range from one bedroom to three bedrooms.”One of the big features of this entire property is the number of trees that exist, and the plan is to retain 90 of them,” project representative Richard Jasper told council. “There’s a beautiful spruce, so it gets its own protection area as well.”Other features include a courtyard, sidewalk linkage all the way through the property and a raised walkway that will run through the trees, he noted.Under-building parking is provided for convenience and to reduce the amount of impermeable surface.The 32 units would be distributed across six two- and three-storey buildings ranging in size from two to 12 units per building.Units range in size from 77.9 square metres to 111 square metres.Coun. Larry Jangula was cautious and felt it was important to hear from the East Courtenay neighbourhood. “At first glance, it looks like a huge increase in density, but I’ll let the neighbourhood decide,” he said. “I’m sure people will appreciate and respect the fact that the trees will be kept intact.”He raised concerns about extra traffic on Dingwall Road and the Dingwall hill.”I think we need to do something about fixing Dingwall Road,” he said. “It’s not these people’s fault; it’s us.”Coun. Murray Presley felt the proposal was attractive and had a unique design.”I appreciate the amount that’s been kept as greenspace,” he said. “I understand Coun. Jangula’s concern about traffic, but I think that’s another issue, and it shouldn’t affect this project.”The applicants held a public information session before Christmas, and just a couple of the immediate neighbours were concerned about density, while others were predominantly concerned about the perceived increase in traffic, explained senior planner Gina MacKay.The mixture of units is providing for some small, affordable units that would probably sell for less than $200,000, noted MacKay.”We think the design is unique; we think it does provide an opportunities for some slightly more modern looking units, and most of the people who looked at the drawings and came to the public information meeting were pleased about that,” she said.Coun. Manno Theos saw a lot of positive factors to the proposal.”The project is creative,” he said. “There’s almost 40 per cent natural retention saved there, trying to maintain that perspective of this project nestling into its surroundings, and I think they’re achieving that goal.”The fact that the buildings are going to add a little bit of pizzazz to the area, it’s a bit of an older area, and I think the newness and attractiveness of the way these buildings are presented and built will breathe some new life into that area, which is something that is definitely going to be a bonus.”Coun. Jon Ambler noted that the Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy and the city’s OCP — along with people who write to councillors — discourage sprawl, and this type of project is “exactly what people signed up for.”Council gave the bylaws first and second readings Monday. A public hearing will be held April 4 at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Comox Valley Record