House at 9833 Willow Street will be moved to make way for a multi-family building with seven one-bedroom units. (Photo by Warren Goulding)

Lefebure’s housing project draws mixed reviews at open house

Former North Cowichan mayor provides details on plans for Chemainus lot

Former North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure found himself on the hot seat at an open house Saturday.

It was something of a role reversal for Lefebure who, as a developer, is now in the processing of seeking rezoning for a housing project on Willow Street in Chemainus.

Most of the more than 40 people who attended the open house at the site of the proposed development welcomed the concept of seven, modestly priced, one-bedroom rentals. But there were concerns about parking and how that would affect the neighbourhood.

“I don’t like the idea of four cars parking outside my bedroom window and starting up every morning,” complained Cliff Blake, who lives next door to the property at the corner of Willow and Laurel.

Currently, an older house is on the site but it will be removed to make room for a seven-unit complex with four upper and three lower level residences of about 700 sq. feet each.

Lefebure is required to provide seven parking stalls for residents and one more for visitor parking. He will be applying for a variance as part of the development permit that will allow him to create only seven stalls.

“We’ve talked to a number of (potential tenants) who don’t own a car,” Lefebure explained. “So I don’t think we’ll even need the seven stalls.”

Lefebure says a car share program for people who don’t own cars may be implemented.

Other neighbours said the area is congested at various times, particularly when the nearby seniors centre is holding an event.

And Mark and Jodie Phillips, who live on Maple Street across from the Thrift Shop, say there are too many cars looking for a place to park on the streets in the area.

“It’s already congested with the Thrift Shop,” Jodie Phillips said. “I don’t like to complain without offering solutions but it is a concern.

“But I’m all for affordable housing,” she added.

Mary Dolan, representing the Chemainus Residents Association, had praise for Lefebure’s plan that will offer rental rates in the $800 per month range.

“It’s a good rate if you were going to commit to that,” Dolan told Lefebure.

“We need housing for young people. There are many people who cannot afford to stay here.”

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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