Starlight’s application to rezone one-and-a-half blocks of the Harris Green neighbourhood will now be voted on by Victoria council after passing through 5.5 hours at the committee of the whole, seven hours in council, 4.5 hours in a public hearing, and almost 300 pages of correspondence.
Starlight is looking to rezone the properties located at 903, 911 and 1045 Yates Street, 910 View Street and 1205 and 1209 Quadra Street to build a mixed-use development including commercial, daycare, office and community uses with purpose-built rental residential above.
If approved, the company plans to build the towers in three phases, with the 900-block of Yates to be towers of 32, 29, and 28 storeys, and the 1045-block of Yates being towers of 21 and 20 storeys.
When the proposal was first presented to the committee of the whole, councillors imposed additional requirements on the project including that at least 15 per cent of the units must be affordable as outlined in the city’s affordable housing strategy, revise the unit mix to include more two and three bedroom units, five per cent of the units must be accessible, at least 450 square metres must be designated for childcare, and noise mitigation must be implemented for all rooftop equipment.
The towers, which Starlight has called Harris Green Village, would bring over 1,500 rental homes to the city.
Through the public hearings, opinions on the proposal were split with many coming to speak both in favour and opposed.
Those who spoke in favour of the project pointed to the housing crisis that Victoria and the region is facing and said it will add needed density, one said he hoped it would attract other developments of this size, some spoke to the benefit the greenspace will bring to the region, and others spoke to the benefit of having an economic hub that the commercial space will bring.
Many University of Victoria students also shared their struggles with finding housing while studying, saying some classmates are needing to live in cars or tents due to being unable to find housing.
Others were opposed to the project and said the towers were too high for the area and the number of housing units would have a negative impact on the traffic. Some said they were concerned about the loss of the grocery store while the project is under construction.
Now with the public hearing wrapped up, it will be up to council to make a final decision.
When it passed through committee of the whole and council previously, it was the former council who passed it to the next steps, so this will be the current council’s first vote on the project.
It is expected to come before council on Feb. 16 in the evening council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. There will not be a chance for more public participation. The only portion of the process left is for the council to make their comments on the project or make amendments based on what they heard in the public hearing.