Woodsmere has again been sent back to the drawing board after Tofino’s municipal council rejected the company’s development proposal last month. (Image from Tofino council agenda)

Tofino again rejects massive development proposal from Woodsmere

“I definitely won’t support a motel.”

Tofino’s municipal council has again turned down a massive proposal from Woodsmere Holding Corp. that would bring 178 apartment units and a 48-room motel to a 27-acre lot at the entrance to town.

Woodsmere’s president Danny Jadresko said that the company conducted a comprehensive housing market evaluation from 2014-2015 that identified a critical shortage of rental housing in Tofino and subsequently purchased a 25-acre lot north of Industrial Way near the Tofino Gas ‘N’ Go.

READ MORE: Tofino turns down massive housing proposal

He said the site would be developed in a phased approach, with the first phase being 116 purpose-built rental units, followed by a 48-room motel and then a 62 unit apartment or condominium building.

The site, however, is not zoned for any commercial uses, like a motel, and allows for single-family residences, not 178 apartments, and therefore needs council’s approval to move ahead. The application also calls for four-storey apartment buildings, which is higher than the town’s Official Community Plan permits

Woodsmere first presented an application to the district in 2016 and that application was denied by council in 2017. A municipal election has happened since then, bringing three new councillors to the table, though the result was the same as council again rejected the company’s proposal last week.

READ MORE: Tofino turns down large Woodsmere housing project

Prior to denying the application during their Jan. 22 regular meeting, council heard from Jadresko who spoke as a delegation at the start of the meeting and explained why Woodsmere had reapplied.

He said Woodsmere’s primary focus is to “provide rental housing in Tofino” and suggested many residents are currently living in substandard conditions.

“I have personally heard from residents of Tofino living in tents, cars, 15 people living in a single family home or two grown adults living in an 8×10 room with bunk beds,” he said. “This type of housing does not help integrate the occupants and residents into the community. Occupants of inadequate housing are not likely to remain in Tofino, leading to a high turnover for employees and residents…Our proposed development addresses many of the housing problems and we believe the town should be supportive of our application.”

READ MORE: Tofino’s solution to the housing crisis

He added Tofino’s downtown core would benefit from a motel and that Woodsmere would focus on accommodating pedestrians and cyclists.

“We feel that there is a limited supply of newer, reasonably priced, tourist accommodations within the downtown core area, “he said.

He assured each unit would be prohibited from becoming a short term rental.

“Year-round residents contribute to the community’s economical and social well-being. We are not targeting short term transient residents,” he said.

He cited costs as the reason for building four-storeys high and suggested building in Tofino is expensive while the average rental rates are lower than in larger cities.

“The four-storey apartments are a direct result of costs and affordability. The higher we build, the more affordable the building gets,” he said.

He said the 48-unit motel was a means to create financial assistance for the project.

“Without any financial burden to the town of Tofino and the residents, Woodsmere is prepared to undertake all risks and financial burden to develop this proposal,” he said.

He added the project would help lower housing costs.

“In most cases, rental rates are a direct factor of supply and demand. Currently, in Tofino, there’s very limited supply of rental accommodations, which creates a high demand for current rental inventory,” he said. “Most of the rental inventory in Tofino is old and in many cases substandard, however, still being rented at high rental rates. This is a direct factor of limited supply and high demand. Woodsmere is proposing to bring to market 116 brand new, quality built, high standard, purpose built apartment units in phase one.”

READ MORE: UPDATED: Tofino receives $500,000 for housing project

Tofino’s Manager of Community Sustainability Aaron Rodgers said the 88-unit per acre density being proposed by Woodsmere is roughly four times higher than what the current Official Community Plan permits and expressed concern over managing the “very large neighbourhood” the proposal would create.

Coun. Duncan McMaster said Tofino residents have been clear that they do not want to see more tourist accommodations developed.

“I definitely won’t support a motel,” he said.

Coun. Dorothy Baert said she was disappointed that the application did not seem to have incorporated any of the changes the community had suggested the first time Woodsmere presented its plan.

“Yes, we do need housing and we are trying in a number of ways to address that, but I don’t think this community is saying, ‘We’ll take whatever’s put on the table at any cost,’” she said.

READ MORE: Open house nets mixed reviews on massive housing development in Tofino

Both Coun. Tom Stere and Coun. Al Anderson echoed that sentiment.

“This is the second attempt and my reading of the first attempt does not differ much in substance or in spirit with this second application. The community has clearly spoken on many levels,” Stere said.

“I think the community and council both have spoken to this application before and we haven’t seen any sort of movement in any way to address any of the concerns brought forward. So, I hope that any further applications that might come on this property have listened to some of those things and tried to make it a better fit for the OCP and the community,” Anderson added.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Tofino voters cite housing as key election issue



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists’ vehicles vandalized in Tofino

Community steps up to support visitors.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Vancouver Island Indigenous leaders supportive of B.C.’s new plan for old forest preservation

More than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound mapped for immediate old growth harvesting deferral

HISTORY COLUMN: Reflecting on the 32nd anniversary of Canada’s apology to Japanese-Canadians

Japanese-Canadians an integral part of Tofino and Ucluelet’s history.

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Vancouver Island couple’s sheep farm dream disrupted by high lumber price

The solar powered farm project in Sayward will be set back by three years if the lumber price continues to remain high

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Most Read