The large housing development project slated for the side of Mount Tzouhalem has taken a step backwards, largely due to concerns raised by Cowichan Tribes.
The Municipality of North Cowichan decided at their council meeting on Dec. 21 to rescind the third reading on the Kingsview Developments proposal, that had planned for more than 1,300 housing units, which means another public hearing on the project will have to be held.
Strandlund Investments Ltd. is proposing to build the development where the defunct Cliffs Over Maple Bay project was supposed to be constructed.
Correspondence from Cowichan Tribes to council, as well as a number of minor changes to the proposal by the proponents, led to the decision to take a further look at the project and initiate another public hearing.
Dave Devana, the municipality’s CAO, said the letters from Cowichan Tribes indicated that the First Nation has concerns related to increased traffic, cultural impacts on the band from the project and trespassing on native lands.
Mark Ruttan, North Cowichan’s director of corporate services, also said the project’s proponents have dropped the number of housing units in their plan to 1,190, and between $250 and $500 from each lot, depending on size, would be contributed to an affordable-housing fund.
As well, the proponents would contribute between $250 and $500 per lot, depending on size, to assist with water quality initiatives at Quamichan Lake, and transfer two lots, which together are the size of 45 multi-family units, to North Cowichan to be used as parkland.
“This is all new information that council has to consider, so we need to take a step back, rescind third reading and schedule another public hearing,” said Mayor Jon Lefebure.
“The public hearing has yet to be scheduled, but in the meantime, we can use the time to have as much collaboration and correspondence with Cowichan Tribes as possible.”
Council had held a well-attended public hearing on the proposal on Nov. 23 that went on for more than four hours.
The majority of delegations at the meeting spoke against it, raising concerns about the environmental impacts of more runoff from the development entering nearby Quamichan Lake, and increased traffic and density issues, among others.
A staff report indicates that, based on the anticipated market for real estate in the neighbourhood, a minimum 20-year timeline is anticipated for the entire project to be completed.