Saanich council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve rezoning for a major housing and social-programs development.
The $250-million Nigel Valley project will see a hundreds of new housing units built in an area along Vernon Avenue around Darwin and Nigel Avenues, right beside Saanich Municipal Hall.
It will be a mix of residential care, supportive housing, assisted living, affordable housing and market units and bring the total from an existing 186 to more than 800.
The project brings together five social agencies including B.C. Housing, Broadmead Care Society, The Garth Homer Foundation, Island Community Mental Health Society and Greater Victoria Housing.
The agencies already have housing in the immediate area, much of it in need of updates.
The vote followed a public hearing on the proposed project.
Supporters and opponents packed Saanich council chambers to weigh-in on the plan.
Those who spoke in favour of the project say it will provide much needed, centralized accommodation and services for those with developmental challenges, as well as seniors and others who will be eligible to live in the new facilities.
Some unhappy with the existing proposal pointed to problems with increased density in the area including the extra traffic it will bring.
Others remain unhappy about plans for a 16-floor building for the site, while two speakers suggested council should put off such a big decision until after next month’s municipal elections.
In the end, council gave the project an enthusiastic green light.
Construction is expected to take between 5-7 years.