Landmark heritage estate ‘Blair Gowie’ is back before council after an error was found in the Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw created for the subdivision application of the property.
A public hearing was held on Sept. 17 to provide the public with an opportunity to have input on the application for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw for the property at 2031 Runnymede Avenue, a heritage property originally owned by Harry Ross and his wife Jennie Butchart, the daughter of the Butcharts, of the renowned Victoria attraction, the Butchart Garden.
The current owner of Blair Gowie wants to subdivide the land into two lots, retaining the heritage building on one lot to use as a single family residence with a secondary suite, and constructing a new residential dwelling on the other lot.
The public hearing on Sept.17 was recessed and scheduled to reconvene on Sept.24 after council asked for additional information due to concern about inconsistencies in the application. It was brought up that the illustrative concept plan on the notification sign on the property was different than the notification given out in mailboxes and in the current application. There were also questions raised about how the current application differed from past applications to subdivide the property.
Council is requesting site drawings, information about previous applications for subdivision, the number of people given notification, timing of previous subdivision applications, among other items.
The public hearing that was to be reconvened on Sept.24 was cancelled after district staff found an error in the Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw, requiring council to reconsider a future report and bylaw. The bylaw will be corrected and a new public hearing will be called.
All correspondence received and provided to mayor and council at the Sept. 17 public hearing will be included in the future public hearing agenda package which will be posted on the district’s website at: https://www.oakbay.ca/municipal-hall/meetings-minutes/minutes-agendas. Agenda packages are available on the website by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday preceding the public hearing.
The property previously prompted a petition, a demonstration and several concessions by the developer in 2011. The 1916 Maclure mansion was hotly debated for months in Oak Bay council chambers, after the owner came forward asking to subdivide the property. The owners terminated the process after not being able to conclude agreement with district staff, according to the owner.