Variance approved for former school site

NANAIMO – Lot depth variance was approved for a proposed subdivision near Oliver Woods Community Centre that was part of a land exchange.

Lot depth variance was approved for a proposed subdivision near Oliver Woods Community Centre on property that was part of a land exchange between the city and school district.

City council approved the variance development permit at its regular meeting last week for land on Rutherford Road and Oliver Road, which is in the preliminary stages of being developed into a 34-lot single-dwelling residential by Insight Holdings Ltd.

The variance was necessary as the land is situated near wetlands and a buffer zone of 15 metres is needed to ensure the wetland is within a proposed park area.

Nanaimo school district owned the 8.4-hectare property but gave six hectares to the city in a land exchange to be used for the park land and for future road access between Linley Valley Drive and Rutherford Road. The school district sold the 2.4 hectares to Insight Holdings for the development in a $1.5-million deal.

“We had a number of acres at that site – it’s actually Oliver Road – and we had originally proposed to build a secondary school there but due to there being restrictions on the use of that property by the city and [a nearby] old folks’ home, we couldn’t do it,” said school board chairman Jamie Brennan.

Despite the development variance permit approval, there still needs to be approval of a subdivision application, but the variance will allow for 22 of the lots in the subdivision to range in depth between 24.1 and 27.9 metres.

“Their [Insight Holdings’] next step is to apply for subdivision, so they would make that subdivision application and get preliminary layout acceptance done,” said Dean Mousseau, city manager of engineering and subdivision. “It’s preliminary right now, we haven’t seen any detailed design of the actual road works or anything that needs to be build yet,” he said.