ARYZE DEVELOPMENTS INC. is planning to build an 18-unit, 3-storey townhouse complex on Foul Bay Road at Quamichan. The 22,000-square-foot well-treed site was formerly occupied by a large 1911 heritage house that burned down in late 2016. Zoned for single-family housing, it is also a heritage-designated site, meaning the developer requires both rezoning and a heritage alteration permit.
Aryze proposes to remove 29 trees in total, including 19 protected under the City’s tree bylaw; they are retaining 12 trees and planting more.
A neighbourhood group has formed in opposition, particularly to the tree destruction. As stated on the group’s website: “The mature trees are not only beautiful—they play a significant role in climate change by sequestering carbon, storing water during heavy rain events, and cooling the earth. They also provide food and housing for countless birds, mammals, and pollinators.”
The same group is raising funds towards legal costs to fight Aryze’s petition to remove an existing restrictive covenant dating back to 1917 that would limit the site to no more than four residences.
Other controversial features include the limited onsite parking (16 stalls) which, neighbours believe, will impose street congestion and hazardous traffic flow on a currently safe, pedestrian-friendly street.” They also question the project being marketed as “affordable housing” given that the minimum combined family income required to qualify is likely over $160,000. (Aryze hopes to use the BC Housing Affordable Homeownership Program whereby homes are sold below market value—with the discounted amount used as the downpayment. The mostly three-bedroom units, even after deductions, would be over $700,000 according to the developer.)
At a December 17, 2020 meeting of the Land Use Committee meeting of the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association—the second public meeting about the property—67 percent (16 of 24) of attendees opposed the development, mostly on the grounds of it being too dense, too high, causing too many trees to be eliminated, and traffic concerns.
See a longer Focus report by Russ Francis on this development here.