A new apartment building with 83 rental units is being proposed for Koksilah Road.
The project, called Creekside on Koksilah, would be a five-storey building that would house an assortment of rental units, from studio units to two-bedroom apartments, on a 2.2-acre lot at 5237 Koksilah Rd.
Carwood Homes, a development company based in Saanich, has recently submitted a rezoning application to the Cowichan Valley Regional District for the project.
Company spokesman Carson Shanks said recent reports released by the Cowichan Housing Association have identified the need for developments like Creekside on Koksilah in the CVRD to help address pressing rental housing needs in the area.
“There is a housing crisis in the Cowichan Valley and there is a desperate need for more rental units there,” he said.
“Creekside on Koksilah will be geared toward the working poor, like mothers that work at Starbucks and single nurses working at the hospital, who can’t afford to buy a house but make too much money for subsidized housing. There’s a huge gap there that we want to fill.”
But Shanks said the project is getting some push back from the CVRD’s planning department as it goes through the district’s rezoning application process.
He said he believes the CVRD is hesitant to endorse a project of this size.
“They say the area is a rural setting, but there’s an industrial park next door to the site,” Shanks said.
“If we downsized the project, it would mean the property would be under utilized, and in 10 years planners would be saying it could have handled more.”
Alison Nicholson, the CVRD’s director for Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora where the project is proposed, said the rezoning application is still in its early stages, but the project as presented would add significant density in a neighbourhood that largely consists of single-family residences.
“While we do have an affordable housing crisis, the developer is asking for quite a bit of change here,” she said.
“We have to think long-term and I hope the developer will have a meeting with the community soon.”
Nicholson said she thinks a neighbourhood plan has to be developed for the area that would lay out what sorts of development would be allowed there.
“This is an important neighbourhood that has environmentally sensitive areas and is close to town and to lands belonging to Cowichan Tribes,” she said.
“We need to think development applications through and make sure we do the right thing.”