WATCH: Protesters hand out cookies to try to stop a controversial Cook Street Village condo development. Tess van Straaten reports.
Protesters handed out cookies at Victoria City Hall on Thursday morning.
“Keep the Village sweet — no oversize, inappropriate development!” one protester chanted.
There were about two dozen people, hoping to stop a new condo development in Cook Street Village.
“If you talk to people on Cook Street they don’t want it to change,” says protester Jane Ramin.
Urban Core Ventures is proposing a five-story building with commercial space on the bottom level and residential units above.
It would replace a rundown five-plex and three neighbouring buildings on Cook at Oliphant but some residents are worried it will destroy the character of the neighbourhood.
“One neighbour suggests that it looks like a cruise ship that was missed the dock at Ogden Point,” Ramin says.
“We don’t want to be downtown, we don’t want to look like downtown,” adds Cook Street Village resident John Tylee. “We have a funky beautiful little place.”
But the developer says the addition of six businesses and more housing will make the area even better.
“It’s about people and businesses and without that we really don’t have a Village so I think adding to that will only enhance and make the Village more vibrant,” Urban Core Ventures president Leonard Cole.
The project — which has been in the works for two years — has already been scaled back significantly in response to neighbourhood feedback.
The building was originally six storeys, the maximum height under Victoria’s official community plan.
It’s now more than 25 per cent smaller and has 53 unit instead of 76 as well as much-needed rental units.
“We’ve added 18 rental units, which is effectively doubling the rental stock on the property, as well as adding nine of them as 10 per cent below market,” Cole says.
Current tenants have been given first right of refusal on the rentals or the chance to buy a condo unit at a discount.
Additional parking spots have also been added —all to appease concerns.
As a result, City Council voted to move the project forward to the public hearing process.
UPDATE: After voting Thursday morning to send the project the public hearing process, Council had a change of heart at its meeting Thursday evening and decided more public consultation was needed and voted against sending to to the public hearing process.