Re: “Oak Bay United Church aims to file affordable-housing papers by Friday,” Aug. 2.
The Oak Bay United Church’s leadership has expressed hopes that opposition to its apartment-building project has abated. This is wishful thinking on their part, as the neighbours have become even angrier over the treatment they have received, especially after our review of the heavily redacted freedom-of-information response we received.
It is our view that anything the church leadership pronounces on this matter should not be taken at face value. The project, while fully funded by B.C. Housing, will have only 49 affordable units as defined by B.C. Housing out of the 100 units to be built. The project will create the most densely populated site in Oak Bay by far, with its 100 units per acre, as compared with the average for Oak Bay apartment buildings of 50 units per acre.
All of this will be in a single-family neighbourhood as outlined by the official community plan. The church’s goal of controlling the apartment through some sort of housing society is just as alarming as the density model, as it has a poor record of asset stewardship.
The neighbours, recognizing the need for housing, were willing to work with the church to find a compromise that would fit with the neighbourhood and provide a model for other affordable housing projects. We have found that was never in the cards, and a public-relations campaign has been conducted to bulldoze over the concerns of the affected neighbours.