Friday, August 12 2022

Two major projects approved for the Marigold neighborhood will create what Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor called a significant addition to the local housing stock.

The second and third phases of the Marigold development off Lochside Drive near Mount Newton Cross Road, approved by council at the February 14 meeting, add nearly 300 homes to the area in various configurations.

The second phase, which passed unanimously, includes 235 rental units in two six-story buildings at 2515 Hackett Cres. The third phase, passed with only Coun. Zeb King objected, requesting a 50-unit, six-story, 14-unit townhouse condominium, located north of the already completed 38-unit, five-story condominium.

Com. Niall Paltiel recused himself from both votes, having previously cited a non-pecuniary conflict of interest.

The second phase will significantly reduce the municipality’s housing deficit, Windsor said. Specifically, developer Starlight Developments has calculated that it will meet 42% of projected new housing demand (557 units) for the 2020-2025 period, as identified in the Regional District of the capital for Central Saanich.

At Monday’s meeting, Windsor and the county. Bob Thompson was among those who acknowledged previous accusations from residents that Starlight had significantly altered the second phase from its original design.

But the project offers a significant opportunity when weighed against the cost of giving it up, Windsor said. The window for creating more rental housing while interest rates remain low “could close within the next two years”, he added.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic endorsement for Phase 2 came from the county. Carl Jensen, who said the district is obligated to provide as much variety of housing as possible for people who want to live in the community. “They should be offered the same choices we had when we chose to move to Central Saanich,” he said.

Windsor expects work on the second and third phases to begin imminently, with completion in 2024. Completion of all three phases will give this important section of the Saanich Peninsula a different look, a fact which does not escape Windsor.

“But I’m confident that, based on what we’ve seen, it will fit,” he said. “There will obviously be an adjustment period for people and I appreciate that. But I think it will be fine.”

Council approval of the second phase is subject to a covenant that commits Starlight, which has purchased the land for the second phase from the developers of the first and third phases, to a full package of transportation facilities and pledges, including not charging for visitor parking during the day.

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