The location, between Cowrie and Dolphin streets, is the site of the company’s works yard and the Cozy Court Motel. The proposed new development would replace the motel and retain part of the existing Telus building.
Introducing the “Telus Living” application for its first public discussion, a staff report on the meeting agenda asks for council direction to draft official community plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw amendments for the proposal. It also seeks council’s endorsement to refer the application to other agencies and neighbouring property owners and to request the applicant host a public information meeting.
In their report, staff wrote, “The proposed development works towards addressing critical housing needs identified in the (2020 Sunshine Coast Housing Needs) report.” Staff noted that the design includes smaller residential units that can meet the needs of seniors living alone or couples without children.
To facilitate Telus’s plan, an OCP amendment to double the allowed residential density of the property would be required. As proposed, the project would also require a 64 per cent increase over established OCP levels for the ratio of a building’s total floor area to its lot size.
The report recommends that council consider the impacts and benefits of the proposal in relation to the OCP’s goal of maintaining a “small-scale village character” for its downtown area. It notes that the property is within the urban containment boundary, which the OCP identifies as “a priority growth area.”
While general OCP provisions limit downtown building heights to three storeys, staff identifies that the application meets conditions in an OCP policy that allow a six-storey building to be considered. Those include being a non-waterfront site and having a site geotechnical analysis that supports the proposed building height. The application also meets other policy criteria including having terraced upper floors, not significantly shadowing adjacent properties, and has preliminary support from the fire department.
The staff report also states that rezoning of the four lots into a site-specific comprehensive development zone is recommended to regulate land uses, reduce offsite parking requirements and establish building height, massing and lot setbacks limits.
Staff estimate that if approved, the project could generate about $650,000 in development cost charges and that community amenity contributions would be subject to negotiation.
Telus has hired Omicron AEC Ltd. to assist it with the development process. In the application, the company says it has “chosen Sechelt as only the second B.C. community to introduce their new Telus Living concept.” Its first such application in this province was submitted to the City of Nanaimo in 2020. That proposal was for two six-storey structures containing 197 residential units and is at the development permit stage.
Omicron’s website (omicronaec.com) describes the Telus Living concept, as applied to the Nanaimo project, as one that “aspires to meet the community need for more rental housing, celebrates diversity, promotes wellness, fosters active urban living, connects residents with their community, offers meaningful amenities and work from home spaces, integrates smart home technologies, and represents environmental stewardship over the life of the development.”