Oak Bay council finally, unanimously, approved condo project The Quest after more than 10 years of rejections.
In the end, it took just a minute for Oak Bay council to approve its most contentious and controversial development, and Large and Co. developer, Pam Colpman, can’t believe it’s finally happening.
“Well, thrilled. I mean there is nothing else to say,” said Colpman on Thursday. “It’s been 10 years, and it actually still feels a little surreal. It doesn’t feel like it’s happened. It’s a great feeling to actually move forward.”
First proposed by Large and Co. Development more than a decade ago, council rejected the four-storey condo development several times, including in 2022, when councillors refused to allow a public hearing.
But Colpman persisted, and says the timing worked in her favour.
“Honestly I think it’s political. When you have the pressure from the province, and also the community, they really want housing of all kinds, they just can’t afford to say no,” Colpman said.
Earlier this year, the province announced housing targets for municipalities on its so-called ‘naughty list’ that are lagging on housing, including Oak Bay, which has a goal of building 660 units over the next 10 years.
B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says the province’s goal is to build more housing.
“We have legislation coming this fall which will allow up to four units on single family lots, transit-oriented development, So there is a whole host of things that will come to ensure that local governments meet their targets,” he said.
Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch says this decision proves the municipality is moving in the right direction.
“We’ve taken a very long time. I’d say Oak Bay, really, until the last five or six years, hasn’t taken housing seriously. So we’ve completed all of the suites. We’re one of the first in the province to legalize suites,” Murdoch said.
Colpman is optimistic that this decision means more housing opportunities in the district in the near future.
“I sure hope so,” she said. “I really hope so. It needs to happen.”
Colpman says she hopes to begin construction on the The Quest development in the next few months.