Artist’s rendering of a 59-unit apartment building planned for 5085 Uplands Dr. (City of Nanaimo/KPL James Architecture)

Nanaimo city council approves north-end rental building

Four-storey building to be built near Turner Road and Uplands Drive intersection

A rental building will be coming to Nanaimo’s north end.

Nanaimo city councillors approved a development application for a four-storey, 59-unit rental apartment building on 5085 Uplands Dr., near Turner Road, during a council meeting on Jan. 15.

Submitted by Victoria-based architecture firm, KPL James Architecture Ltd., the 1,417-square metre building will feature one- and two-bedroom units, three studio units, secure bicycle storage, underground parking and is located near a bus stop at the corner of Uplands Drive and Turner Road.

The development was forced to come before council as the owners, Westurban Holdings Group Ltd., requested a number of variances including increasing the building’s height from 14 metres to 16.4 metres and reducing the number of off-street parking spaces from 97 to 68.

Dale Lindsay, director of community development, told councillors that the lot the development would be built on is an unusual shape. He said on-street parking will be constructed on Uplands Drive.

“As a result of this development, frontage works and services will be triggered, so that will mean that the completion of gutter, curb, sidewalk, street lighting,” he said. “As part of those works, the ultimate design of Uplands will allow on street parking. So, there will be … in the neighbourhood of 18 and 20 on-street parking stalls that will be added that are currently not available at this time.”

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she was in favour of the development, despite the fact that parking is often a concern for her.

“I know parking is always an issue for me but on this one I do note that there will be one spot per unit, so I will support it because I think that not everybody has two vehicles.”

Coun. Bill Bestwick told councillors while he generally doesn’t like parking variances, he was fine with the developer’s request because it would be wrong to reject the proposal when there is a lack of affordable housing options in the city.

“I am not a big fan of when we do parking variances, I never have been. But in the the direction that we seem to be wishing to go, I don’t think we can deny the opportunities to house people as reasonable and as affordable as possible,” he said.

Bestwick also pointed to the construction investment that projects like the Uplands complex bring.

“These are significant developments that have significant impacts on housing and our economy,” he said.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the development permit application. No time frame was provided for when construction on the development would begin.

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