Further to our letter of February 4th 2020, the DRA LUC provides the following information as an update. Since our last submission, the applicant has made some minor design alterations but the application remains essentially as before and all of the concerns raised in the previous letter remain valid.
In particular, Staff recommend approval for this application while also relieving it from the requirement for an OCP amendment for a 33% increase in density over the OCP maximum for the entire site citing that “OCP policies may be varied to achieve heritage conservation objectives where alternate guidelines are established for a heritage property or properties within a Heritage Conservation Area”. As justification Staff also state that this application “is generally consistent with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada”.
The applicant proposes the virtual complete destruction of the heritage registry building, Canada Hotel (Duck’s Carriage Factory), and the destruction of the majority of the Duck Building; leaving only the building’s front and rear façades.
This application proposes to provide luxury hotel accommodation for affluent visitors arriving to Victoria by car and may provide additional economic benefit for local food and beverage establishments, but it will contribute little to community amenities, and remove existing affordable housing and affordable commercial space so important for local business owner operators. Operational profits will be realized outside of the local community with local economic development providing lower paying service jobs. Council approval of this application will continue to dismantle decades long established and internationally applauded City of Victoria heritage conservation policy without any public discussion, all while rewarding the applicant handsomely with millions in additional density incongruent with Old Town maximums and character, all without proper procedure or justification. We trust that Council will not be influenced by the suggestion that this proposal represents any kind of ‘balanced’ approach to such an important site but instead honour the requirements of our OCP to preserve our historic Old Town buildings to the standards established by our nation’s preeminent experts.
Sincerely, Ian Sutherland, Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association
Click below to download and read the full letter.