City gets serious about its look

A new City of Duncan Advisory Design Panel will make recommendations on the look of major developments in city moving forward.

A new City of Duncan Advisory Design Panel will make recommendations on the proposed look of major developments within city boundaries moving forward.

“It’s for really big projects like the one on Canada Avenue,” explained Coun. Michelle Staples, the City of Duncan’s representative on the committee. “That one would have been sent to the design panel because it has a significant impact on the downtown.”

Developments like the one at 15 Canada Ave. are actually what prompted the creation of the panel.

“There was so much discussion around design during that process and design committees are very common in a lot of different places and it was something going through that process that we recognized we needed to add in,” Staples explained.

The panel won’t be deliberating over every development application, and residential projects won’t be affected.

“There’ll be some applications that will be reviewed by the panel but not every application will be,” Staples said. “It’s just for those with significant impacts. We’re talking major developments, we’re not talking every development in Duncan.”

The panel will review projects and make non-binding recommendations to Duncan council.

“It is great because it’s an important thing to have, I think after going through that process with having something going onto a major intersection downtown and recognizing that we didn’t have anything in place that would really address the design impacts of that and how it fits into downtown,” Staples said. “Without that you don’t have enough guidance to really have that conversation.”

The architect leading the 15 Canada Ave. project is on the design committee, made up of five voting members and one City of Duncan representative.

Two architects, one landscape architect, and two members with demonstrated backgrounds in development or design (for example: a planner, a land development economist, a builder with Build Green credentials, a person with expertise in accessible design etc.) make up the voting members, and the one council member.

Victoria-based architect Marilyn Palmer is the panel’s chair.