THE WOODSY SOUTH END of Elk/Beaver Lake Park might soon look more like Beacon Hill Park: lined by a wall of apartments.
Mike Geric Construction has proposed erecting two condo buildings right on the edge of the regional park, one five storeys tall, and a much larger V-shaped one around it stepping up to 11 storeys tall, providing views of the park to the north, and the Olympic mountains to the south. The project, named Doral Forest Park, would have 242 units in total. The developer says 43 would be sold at 15 percent below appraised value, and would remain affordable housing “in perpetuity,” subject to an agreement with the Capital Regional Housing Corporation.
The Royal Oak Community Association has opposed the project. In an April 2020 letter to the District of Saanich, ROCA said the land remains subject to a registered covenant that protects certain environmental conditions, and limits multi-family density to a floor-space ratio of 0.84 and a maximum of 98 units. (ROCA said it could support a development of that size.)
In October of 2020, ROCA also wrote to Saanich, arguing that the 184 underground parking stalls proposed will be insufficient because the site is too far from shopping or transit to walk. (It’s 700 metres steeply uphill from the Royal Oak transit hub, and about 1.2 km from the Broadmead shopping plaza.) ROCA also complained about a lack of meaningful community-amenity contributions in the proposal, and the risk of groundwater damage to neighbouring condos.
In December of 2020, Saanich Council voted 7-2 to send the project to a public hearing, even though a staff report said its height, scale and massing was “out of context with surrounding development.” A date for the public hearing hasn’t been announced.