YOU'D THINK IT HARD TO FIT a six-storey apartment building plus eight townhouses on a single-family lot, but that’s what Aryze Developments has proposed for this site, at the corner of Normandy Road and Elk Lake Drive.
Aryze hopes Saanich will rezone the 2,910 square-metre lot, currently occupied by one rundown house built in 1956, from single-family to mixed-residential. Aryze says the location is appropriate for significant density, as it’s immediately south of the Saanich Commonwealth Place recreation centre and pool, next to a major transit exchange, and about 500 metres from the Broadmead shopping plaza, on the other side of the Pat Bay Highway. Under the proposal, 15 of its 65 rental units would be “affordable.”
Neighbours have organized petition drives against the project, fearing it would become a “gateway” to further development along Normandy, which is currently lined with single-family homes.
In November of 2020, the Royal Oak Community Association said the developer had not met with them despite repeated requests, and they were still waiting to see a traffic-impact report. ROCA argues the development is too close to the busy intersection of Elk Lake Drive and Royal Oak Drive, which would need an upgrade to accommodate new traffic. ROCA also says Aryze’s proposal only has 36 parking spots, making it likely that Saanich Commonwealth Place next door will effectively become the development’s parking lot. ROCA says the proposal is three times the permitted density and height currently in Saanich’s official community plan.
Saanich Council reviewed the proposal in December 2020 and sent it back to the applicant for revisions. Aryze has said it will likely return with a four-storey proposal with fewer affordable units.