What We Heard at the Open House on March 13, 2019

Rezoning Application & OCP Amendment The Commons & The Quarry Neighbourhoods

OVERVIEW

The early engagement of Colwood residents and site neighbours is essential to establishing awareness  and understanding of what is proposed for the Commons and Quarry neighbourhoods of Royal Bay. Early conversations with the public will help inform Gablecraft of the interests and needs within the neighbourhood and respond to the input received at future events and within the application itself.  Gablecraft Homes Ltd. and Seacliff Properties Ltd. hosted a community open house on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019, at Royal Bay Secondary School (atrium). This was the first in a series of opportunities for neighbours and members of the public to learn more and provide input into what is proposed for the future of Royal Bay and the new Royal Beach neighbourhood in Colwood. Ten Gablecraft staff and transportation, public engagement and planning consultants were on-hand.

OPEN HOUSE FORMAT

The open house was held Wednesday, March 13th, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The purpose of the open house was to:

  • To share the early plans for the Royal Bay and Royal Beach developments with the community;
  • To seek early input from the community prior to submitting a formal rezoning application to the City of Colwood;
  • To demonstrate how the proposed developments meet the objectives of the City of Colwood’s Official Community Plan, with a vision for Royal Bay / Royal Beach to become a mixed-use waterfront community, offering a range of housing forms including detached, ground-oriented, attached and apartment homes, along with a variety of services and amenities;
  • To explain the ownership of the Royal Bay / Royal Beach development site (e.g. Gablecraft (Royal Bay) is West of Metchosin Road and Seacliff (Royal Beach) is East of Metchosin Road on the waterfront).

A sign-in sheet was utilized to determine where attendees lived in proximity to the site and to establish a mailing list for those interested in receiving updates about the process. Over 200 people registered for updates.

PROMOTION & AWARENESS-RAISING

  • Invitations were delivered to over 2,700 homes neighbouring Royal Bay and Royal Beach a week prior to the event.
  • A quarter page colour ad appeared in the Goldstream Gazette, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 and March 6, 2019.
  • Social media posts shared by Royal Bay,  City of Colwood and Colwood Community Association Facebook page.
  • Direct outreach occurred to Mayor and Council, City of Colwood staff, Sooke School District No.62, BC Transit, and BC Ferries to ensure they were aware of the event.

WHO PARTICIPATED

  • Over 230 people attended the open house on March 13, 2019.
  • The majority of attendees lived within within walking distance of Royal Bay.
  • In addition, representatives from the Westshore Chamber of Commerce and Sooke School District were in attendance.

WHAT WE HEARD

In Person:

  • Excitement for the food service and retail amenities to come to the Commons.
  • Constant questions about timing – how soon will the commercial doors be open – 2021/2022 seemed too far out to many people, especially in regards to food services.
  • Acceptance of the fact of Royal Bay South Latoria proceeding and curiosity about details.
  • Some questions about the expansion of Latoria Creek park.
  • A few questions about “why was Latoria Blvd built so narrow?”
  • Frustration with traffic on Latoria Road related to school congestion – several comments about hard to turn left from Bezanton Way onto Latoria Rd. during AM and PM drop-off peak times.
  • Questions about the Ryder Hesjedal Way/Latoria Blvd. intersection signalization in 2019 and the Metchosin/Latoria intersection along with the first significant building in the Commons.
  • Several questions about loss of views –  a few people from the old Royal Bay who were relieved we are talking about mid-rise wood buildings on retail podium in the Commons since they didn’t like the idea of very tall buildings there.

Feedback Forms:

68 feedback forms were completed, several on behalf of couples in attendance. A number of themes emerged from the input received and a further breakdown of feedback by question is noted in Appendix A:

  • Most respondents felt the proposal reflects the goals and objectives outlined for this area in the Official Community Plan.
  • The majority of comments were related to support for the overall concept, including mention of commercial and mixed uses. Many specific examples related to the elementary school and grocery story. Diversity of commercial uses (i.e. coffee shops, pubs, etc. wanting “more than a grocery store”) and housing types were mentioned.
  • The second most favourable topic was access to greenspaces and expanded parkland.
  • Several comments related to the support for the new transit exchange and frequent loop, walkability, connections to parkland and greenspace, and continued access to the beach.
  • The two most notable concerns expressed are 1) the slow timelines, i.e. wanting progress and new amenities to occur faster, and 2) varying concerns related to increased traffic in the area once amenities are introduced, including parking for those visiting the new amenities, and transportation design to accommodate existing and increased traffic.
  • There were a number of comments supportive of the diversity of housing, and curiosity about housing for seniors. Some commented that they hoped “affordable housing”, isn’t “low-income” housing.
  • When asked what they would like more information on for next time, the top themes included: an update on timelines including the school, more detail about the transit connections and park and ride, possibility of passenger ferry, seniors housing, and status of community/neighbourhood house. There were singular mentions of: sewer capacity, building eights, diversity and price of housing and commercial, programming possibilities of shared/common spaces.
  • There were specific questions of whether Colwood City Hall, a performing arts center, library, gym, or marina would be considered.

WHAT’S NEXT

All input will now be considered in detail to further inform development of the application, and future public engagement opportunities. The next open house is expected in June 2019.