Sandstone development in Nanaimo passes public hearing despite concerns

Sandstone development in Nanaimo passes public hearing despite concerns
Seacliff Properties
A rendering of the proposed development is shown.

The largest development ever proposed for Nanaimo’s south-end, called the Sandstone development, just passed another hurdle.

A public hearing was held for the project, which will cost an estimated $2 billion, on Thursday night.

Cinnebar Valley resident Kirk Macdonald, who lives in the area, is among those opposed to the new mega-development being proposed, largely because of the impacts it will have on traffic. He was among those who spoke against the project at the public hearing and organized a petition against it.

“I’m concerned about the pedestrian safety on this road. In particular, this is going to be one of the connections through the development and you can see we don’t have sidewalks on this road. We have barely any streetlights,” the Roberta Road East resident told CHEK News.

He’s also worried about traffic backups on the only direct route into Nanaimo at the intersection where Cranberry Road turns onto the Trans Canada Highway.

“And then beyond that, just the loss of green space, the loss of ecosystem,” said Macdonald.

‘Several decades to build’

To say the Sandstone development is massive is an understatement. The proposal includes up to 2,200 residential units through three new neighbourhoods on parcels of land spanning 280 hectares. It would also include 175,000-square-feet of commercial space and over three-million square feet of industrial space.

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to say there’s ever been a single development proposal that would be as expansive in terms of both its impact by way of population, and its cost over time because it will take, in fairness, several decades to build out Sandstone,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog Thursday before the public hearing.

The development is slowly moving toward reality. On Thursday night, after a public hearing, Nanaimo council voted 7 to 2 to see the project move forward. It still needs council’s final approval.

The council passed a subsequent motion seeking clarity to ensure the development’s 1,000 single-family homes will not actually be four times that under new provincial multi-unit regulations.

“There are some challenges here and we are really looking to the province to provide guidance on what they hope to achieve and what the rules and guidelines are going to be,” said Krog.

As for traffic, Nanaimo’s mayor thinks there are solutions, and the developer agrees.

“We’ve spent a huge amount of time working with professionals looking at understanding the traffic situation and coming up with a comprehensive mitigation package that will help mitigate the impacts of that traffic on the local network,” said Georgia Desjardins, Seacliff’s director of development.

Though Macdonald says nothing is currently planned for his road where, without shoulders, dog-walkers and kids going to school often walk on the road.

In May, Seacliff Properties gave 102 acres to the Snuneymuxw First Nation as an act of reconciliation.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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