A proposal for a four-storey, 112-unit apartment building at 6472 Paddle Rd. received third reading at North Cowichan’s council meeting on Sept. 6.
But not before a number of residents of Paddle Road, located close to Cowichan Commons, raised concerns around the project, which is proposed by Seymour Pacific Developments.
One neighbour said he’s not against progress in his neigbourhood, but the municipality’s infrastructure on Paddle Road is “still in the dark ages” in regards to width to meet current needs, street lighting, and other factors.
Another neighbour, Douglas Rowe, said he has lived on Paddle Road for years and now he fears his taxes will go up to pay for infrastructure improvements to meet the needs of new developments that have nothing to do with him.
He also said he is concerned about North Cowichan’s piecemeal development plans for his neighbourhood.
“I implore you not to proceed with plans for my neighbourhood based on approval for just one piece of property at a time,” Rowe said.
Coun. Al Siebring said he liked the proposal, but he shares some of the neighbours’ concerns.
“The infrastructure on Paddle Road is not conducive to something this big, and I’m struggling with that component of the project,” he said.
“It feels premature to move forward with this until some plans are in place for adjacent properties.”
Scott Mack, North Cowichan’s director of development services, said staff would also like to see the entire road upgraded at the same time, but the municipality faces financial and other challenges.
But he said the developer has committed to some improvements, including some road widening and pedestrian features, if the project gets the green light to proceed.
“Close to half the road would be upgraded on one side, and that’s the best we can do while dealing with just one property,” Mack said.
Council decided to give the project third reading, but only after the proponent committed to replacing some of the planned parking to allow for 240 square metres of the site to be developed as an outdoor amenity space for residents.