In Cook and Oliphant

November 10, 2016

Victoria – Urban Core Ventures (UCV) will be back before the City of Victoria’s Committee of the Whole on November 10, 2016 with its latest improvements to the proposed residential/commercial building at Cook and Oliphant Streets in the Cook Street Village. In July, the Committee of the Whole voted to send the project to Public Hearing but reversed that decision hours later at its regular Council meeting. Council asked UCV to “address some concerns expressed by the neighbourhood, including height and integration of the building into the (Cook Street) village.”

Over the past three months, UCV has met with individual residential and commercial neighbours, participated in three roundtable-style discussions with an organized core group of concerned residents and utilized the services of Barefoot to support the fulfillment of Council’s directive. As a result of community engagement and input from City of Victoria staff a number of positive changes have resulted:

  • The building height has been reduced another 3.3 feet to 54 feet (16.46 metres) just seven feet (2.1 metres) higher than a current four storey in the village. A 26% drop in height from the original
  • The ground floor has been completely redesigned at the request of neighbours. There will be one commercial tenant (down from six), townhouses will be introduced on Oliphant with significant green space including a 25-foot landscaped buffer that will promote positive integration with the residential area to the west, and live/work units have been created on Cook Street that will allow for commerce-minded activities while ensuring a seamless transition to the homes to the south
  • Open site space/green space has been increased to 32% from the original 7%
  • Upper storey trellises will soften building and improve integration
  • Surface parking has reduced to two spaces from 18 through consultation with neighbours
  • Core group of neighbours were offered their choice of trees species to replace two Oliphant trees. They choose Honey Locust and UCV has agreed.
  • Larger residences including three-bedroom units have been added at the request of neighbours to ensure diversity and a family-friendly environment
  • Rental spaces have increased to 17 from nine to address community feedback and a housing shortage in Victoria. Nine will be priced at 10% below market value for 20 years

Leonard Cole, President, Urban Core Ventures
“The engagement process has helped create positive and exciting community-minded improvements to
our building. We sincerely thank the neighbours for their input and look forward to more dialogue when
we begin the Public Hearing process.”

Evan Peterson, Principal, Barefoot Planning
“The proposal meets the City’s vision of either a Large or Small Urban Village, it supports strong
placemaking principles and maintains solid policy, community and staff support.”

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