Saanich recently approved a nine-unit townhouse development with no parking, and that is raising concern for neighbours.
The complex is a first for the municipality and will replace a single-family home. The developer is hoping neighbours will keep an open eye, though he admits change isn’t easy.
“This is something very new, it’s a first for Saanich, this kind of sustainable mobility-centric housing and it’s very different. It reflects a different lifestyle that some people just aren’t familiar with,” says Julian West, the owner of Urban Thrive Developments, the company behind the project.
While the development saw much support and was unanimously approved by council, nearby residents are worried this will put more pressure on street parking.
“It’s a neighbourhood that’s already stressed for parking and so the possibility of many new cars is really a worry,” says Jamie Dopp, a member of the Camosun Community Association.
Normally for a project like this in Saanich, 23 parking stalls would be required by the district. Instead, 2859 Richmond Rd. will come with bicycle storage and one electric car-share parking stall. Plus, all residents will receive a membership to a local car-share and will have to sign an agreement ensuring they’ll stay car-free.
“Purely from an emission standpoint we know we need to get people out of personal vehicles. So personal vehicles make up 40 per cent of emissions in our region, that’s more than double any other source, so we know we need to get people to drive less and to own fewer cars,” says West.
While it may be a first for Saanich, it’s not a first on Vancouver Island.
ARYZE Developments started construction on their first townhouse project with no parking in 2016, with completion in 2019. Their most recent zero parking project will soon be located at 1702 Quadra Street.
“[Parking] takes up a lot of room and it’s very expensive to construct and not everyone has a need for it,” says Luke Mari, principal and development lead at ARYZE Developments.
Mari adds the main factor is the more you encourage alternative forms of transportation, people will catch on.
“The philosophical questions as a developer is we can build a home that has say, no fireplace, no granite counter tops, or no fridge, and we can extend consumer choice to all these things, but why can’t we extend consumer choice to whether or not someone wants to have a parking stall?”
The Richmond development in Saanich will go on, despite their concerns, neighbours hope the no parking rule is monitored and enforced, as they will soon have to adjust to not necessarily watching out for their neighbours on four wheels, but two.