Redesigned Wade project passes first reading

Sechelt council has passed first reading for a proposed mixed-use building at the corner of Wharf Avenue and East Porpoise Bay Road that’s undergone several revisions since it was first put forward in 2017.

The changes to the project from W2 Group Developments, often referred to as the Wade building, have mainly been in response to concerns about density, traffic and “massing.”

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The original design called for a six-storey building with 47 residential units and about 93 sq. metres of commercial space. The latest version of the design has 40 residential units and 420 sq. metres of commercial space.

According to a planning department report presented at the May 20 council meeting, “The current proposal departs in form and character from the previous proposals by incorporating terracing, building articulation and adopting a building form more suitable to the site.”

The project requires new zoning, but not an Official Community Plan amendment.

Planning staff also said the new proposal got a generally favourable reaction when it was presented to the Advisory Planning Commission in January and at a public information meeting in February.

“Most of the concerns that staff noted were regarding traffic impacts particularly to the intersection, and also parking considerations,” planner Sven Koberwitz told council.

Coun. Matt McLean said those were also concerns he had, and suggested “one minor change that could make a big difference” would be to increase the amount of parking allotted to public use for customers and employees of the commercial tenants.

“I do applaud [W2 Group] for listening to our community and taking the feedback and adjusting the building and making all those modifications,” said Coun. Janice Kuester. “I'm happy to support this type of density in our downtown core.”

Coun. Alton Toth said much the same thing. “I think it’s a good spot, and I wanted to thank the applicant for taking the time to listen to feedback about articulating the building and softening it and taking concerns from the neighbours into account.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of first reading of the zoning amendments, so the proposal will now go out for further referrals before second reading and an eventual public hearing.

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