A new residential care facility and complex that is planned for Beverly Street received its first two readings at North Cowichan’s council meeting on May 16.
The motion also called on the developer to provide $132,000 to help pay for frontage upgrades in front of the property, and an additional $86,000 to help with the enhancement of water quality and/or stormwater management within the adjacent Somenos Management Area.
But Coun. Maeve Maguire’s suggestion that the developer also be required to install a public art piece as part of the development caused a lively discussion at the council table.
Island Health and H&H Total Care Services Inc. have partnered to build the facility, which is planned to be located on a 3.5-hectare site on the corner of Beverly Street and York Road.
In its initial phase, the facility, called The Hamlets at Duncan, would include 88 resident complex care beds and a 55-unit assisted living home.
A cluster of other buildings with retail, commercial, hotel, and residential uses are also proposed to complete the site.
Maguire suggested an amendment be made to the motion that will see staff working with the developer to establish a public art amenity at the site.
Coun. Joyce Behnsen said the developer is already required to contribute $218,000 to the municipality for frontage and water issues and shouldn’t be expected to pay more for an art piece.
“The developer’s contributions have been generous enough already,” she said.
Coun. Kate Marsh said public art doesn’t need to be at the expense of the developer.
“There are many artists in the community that would be thrilled to have their work displayed there, at no cost to the developer,” she said.
Coun. Al Siebring also said he doesn’t like the idea of having the developer paying for more expenses.
“I’m concerned that this is another pebble on the scale to add more costs,” he said.
“I’ll support the motion but we should be careful about how we do this and be creative.”
Mayor Jon Lefebure said an art piece would add value to the project.