After it was first introduced in Victoria council two years ago, the Harris Green Village project has finally received final approval to go ahead.
The development project was first introduced to council in December 2019, and the previous council went through almost the entire process with the project until its term ran out.
Then the new council had its first chance to discuss the proposal on February 16, when it came up for a public hearing.
At the time, council asked the developer if it could make changes to the project before the final vote, but approved it in principle.
The amendments included:
- Requiring the developer to only use electric energy systems except for the commercial spaces where required
- Increase the number of carshare cars and dedicated parking spaces to a minimum of 15
- Increase bike parking stalls to at least 2,500
- Ensure at least 50 per cent of bike parking stalls have charging for e-bikes
- Add bike maintenance and repair stations
- Provide all tenants without a car a bus pass for up to three months
- Ensure adequate electric vehicle charging
- Reduce the amount of residential parking from 0.52 stalls per unit to no more than 0.34 stalls per unit.
The developer responded it would be able to meet all but three of the amendments:
- Instead of 15 carshare spaces, there will be nine.
- Instead of three month bus passes, it will provide 100 bus tickets to every unit without a leased parking stall.
- And instead of reducing the number of parking stalls to 0.34, the developer will lease any unused parking spaces to members of the public.
Coun. Krista Loughton noted that it was not ideal that the amendments were introduced at such a late point, but is happy with the compromise reached.
“The way this came to came to council was not ideal because the details of the project were negotiated with the past council,” Loughton said. “And I recognize that the approval in principle created uncertainty and was hard on people. It was hard on the developer, it was hard on residents who were worried that the much-needed 1,500 purpose built rentals were in jeopardy and honestly it was hard on me too.”
Loughton said the amendments make the development a housing complex “of the future” and she hopes that one day it will be advertised as a car-free living building.
Starlight Developments, the company behind the proposal, says it is excited that the first phase of the development, which will be in the 900 and 1000 blocks of Yates Street.
“Harris Green Village represents a unique opportunity to create a vibrant, urban, mixed-use community that is both diverse and inclusive,” said Shauna Dudding, executive director of developments with Starlight Developments. “Purpose-built rentals are a critical aspect of the revitalization of this neighbourhood and we are honoured to be an integral part of the process.”
Starlight plans to break ground on the project this year. The first phase will include more than 500 new purpose-built rental homes with a mix of apartments and townhomes, 80 of which will be affordable suites as well as a new Market on Yates street.
The second and third phases at 910 View Street at 1205 & 1209 Quadra Street will have more than 1,000 rental housing suites, more than 70,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and a nearly half-acre park, with an accessible play area.