A site plan of a proposed 213-unit apartment complex proposed by West Urban Developments for 1300 Junction Ave. in Nanaimo’s south end. (West Urban Developments)

Complex with more than 200 apartments pitched for Nanaimo’s south end

Construction planned for next spring on Junction Avenue in Chase River

An apartment complex with 213 rental units could be coming to Nanaimo’s south end.

Campbell River-based West Urban Developments is proposing to construct three 71-unit four-storey apartment buildings at 1300 Junction Ave., beside the Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence.

Each building, according to the city, will be a yet-to-determined mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. There will also be underground and surface parking available for all three buildings.

Nanaimo city councillors, during a public hearing earlier this month, unanimously gave third reading to re-zone the property from single-dwelling residential to mixed-use corridor.

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Frank Limshue, development manager with West Urban Developments, said the new zoning is consistent with the city’s official community plan and the Chase River neighbourhood plan. He said once re-zoning is approved, the next step is for West Urban to apply for a development permit and work its way through the process, adding that only site plans are available as the company has yet to complete the building’s designs.

“It’s through the development permit process that we will finalize the detailed designs of the building, the landscaping, the colours, all of that stuff,” he said.

Concerns were raised during the public hearing about the building’s height and increased traffic in the area as a result of the development.

Limshue pointed out that West Urban’s proposed complex fits into the neighbourhood.

“When you look at the newer development around the area, like the Country Grocer and seniors housing, our building will be in context with those newer developments,” he said. “Certainly, when you are going from an empty field to a four-storey building, it will look quite dramatic.”

Limshue said while the development won’t have a major impact on traffic in the area, there are ongoing traffic issues during rush hour at the intersection of Tenth Street and Island Highway, which is a block away from the development.

“There is a bit of log jam at Tenth during rush hour,” he said. “There is also a log jam if you are driving along Tenth towards Island Highway and you want to make a left onto the highway. It’s an issue that has been around for awhile, before our development.”

Limshue said the city is working on a solution to that problem with a proposed Cranberry connector which would run by Nanaimo Fire Rescue Station 4 and connect with either Wexford Road or Twelfth Street. He said because of those potential plans, West Urban is dedicating land from its development to accommodate the city’s plans for the connector.

“Basically along all four sides of our property will be giving up land to ensure the appropriate right-of-way for road construction,” Limshue said. “We’ve made provisions in our development to accommodate either scenario. Whichever way the city decides to go there will be room for them to build a road.”

As part of re-zoning, West Urban is required to provide a community contribution of roughly $200,000 according to Limshue, who said the company would prefer to see the money spent within the neighbourhood.

“We’d like to see those funds spent within the Chase River community. One of the suggestions we’ve put forward is that we’d like to see a bus shelter constructed on Lawlor Avenue because right now it is just a pole with a sign on it,” he said.

Limshue said West Urban is not asking for any variances for the project and believes if all goes according to plan, construction could begin early next year.

“We still have to go through the development permit process and then we will have to make an application for a building permit, so we’re probably going to be looking at Spring 2020 before that is all done,” he said.

Councillors will be required to vote on final adoption of the re-zoning application at an upcoming council meeting.

RELATED: Nanaimo council grants development permit for 170 apartments near Long Lake







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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