The current gateway to Ucluelet’s Lot 13 on Marine Drive. (Nora O’Malley photo)

The current gateway to Ucluelet’s Lot 13 on Marine Drive. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Ucluelet affordable housing project clears zoning hurdle

District staff receive scores and scores of letters despite being unable to host a public hearing

A proposed affordable housing development at Ucluelet’s Lot 13 Marine Drive garnered high public interest despite being unable to hold the normal public hearing or open house event due to Covid-19 safety precautions.

District of Ucluelet staff received scores and scores of letters, 88 pieces of input total—about five per cent of the town’s entire population—prior to the April 28 regular council meeting where council was required to make land use decisions regarding the lot located on Weyerhaeuser lands across from Black Rock Oceanfront Resort.

On March 17, council made the decision, under section 464(2) of the local government act, to waive the holding of the public hearing for Lot 13 in response to concerns over the potential spread of Covid-19. Council notified the community of its decision over the next three weeks in the Westerly News and the district’s digital newsletter. Many of the Lot 13 letters raised red flags over waiving the public hearing.

“I do not agree with having the public hearing waived, as an open forum needs to be held in order to hear the concerns and answer the questions many residents in Ucluelet have,” wrote Elke Spindler.

“A time of quarantine is not the time to hold public input, people are not focused on this, and even if they are concerned, few have the knowledge on how to find the full report in council briefs. Public input should be person at a later date,” Barbara Schramm noted.

READ: Ucluelet shows early support for affordable housing project

Questions for the District of Ucluelet and the developer, Andrew McLane, also came in spades.

Ucluelet realtor Judy Gray asked about the restrictions in the affordable housing rental agreement. She claims it leaves out seniors who live on pensions and haven’t worked in a few years.

Daniel Grinnell wondered why an effort wasn’t being made to hire a local construction crew to build the micro homes. He was among several to question the coastal aesthetic and integrity of pre-fabricated modular homes, McLane’s choice for the units.

Zoe Ludwig wanted to know where McLane “plans to put the grinders and pump stations to deal with the amount of sewage created by 33 homes.”

Parking/traffic issues and the requests for variances from the developer to relax the restrictions of the riparian area were also mentioned several times in the correspondence from the public.

Ultimately, during the April 28 regular meeting, mayor and council voted in favour of adopting a Zoning Amendment Bylaw and Housing Agreement Bylaw, and a series of motions in support of the Lot 13 on Marine Drive affordable housing project.

Councillor Rachelle Cole voiced her opposition for the development moving forward during these uncertain times, and without a real public hearing.

“I feel the community is owed the opportunity to get input, get information, give opinions and see things live and in person. Doing it under these lockdown circumstances, I feel as though we are putting ourselves at risk for not everyone understanding,” said Cole.

“Maybe we just need to stop, step back, and wait until we can do it with the full support of the people we are supposed to be servicing. And do it in a way that is completely transparent and not virtual,” she said over Zoom Video during the meeting.

Developer Andrew McLane replied to Cole via an email to the Westerly.

“I do agree with councillor Cole on a lot of what she said, she also did vote [on March 17] to have it done this way. I have had lots of great conversations with council over the past year and even after the last meeting and I completely understand why they voted the way they did, and I respect that. I also understand that as this tough time gets even tougher, that maybe she felt differently now then when she voted for it in March. I appreciate her honesty, she does have the publics’ best interest in mind. But we also had 88 emails sent to the district, so the public was heard by council. I have all the respect in the world in regards to public process and I feel we did it the best way we could,” said McLane.

Council denied a motion to award credits to the land owner until the affordable housing was created.

“I understand councils position to not award credits until the housing is created, just because that was a point in the deal between Weyerhaeuser and I, we see it as a wrinkle that has now been ironed out. So forward we push,” said McLane.

McLane is currently working on the development permits for Lot 13 or ‘First Light at Marine Drive’. He said he should have a package ready for the district within a month.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Affordable housing project advances in Tofino

READ: Longstanding Ucluelet affordable housing complex under scrutiny

affordable housingucluelet

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

Just Posted

An electronic sign at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction notifies travellers heading towards Sutton Pass that closure windows are in effect Thursday morning. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Survey swirls up confusion around Tofino-Ucluelet highway closures

“The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Project closure times remain the same for now,” ministry says

Nuu-chah-nulth language champion Tim Masso holds his Rainy Coast Arts Award. (Jessie Masso photo)
Masso and Wenstob receive 2020 Rainy Coast Arts Award

Tla-o-qui-aht brothers share Pacific Rim Arts Society honour

Pamela Evans gazes lovingly at her four-year-old French bulldog Jack on Thursday, Nov. 5. The energetic young pup has regained his usual rambunctiousness after recently recovering from a significant illness brought on by consuming discarded cannabis new Brown’s Beach in Ucluelet. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Discarded cannabis a “frequent” threat to pets in Tofino-Ucluelet

“I couldn’t grab him fast enough to get it out of his mouth before he swallowed it.”

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Four Alberni schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

Exposures occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 depending on the school

A lightning strike destroyed a radio repeater on Porter Mountain, shutting down the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure’s highway cam at Sutton Pass. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure photo)
Lightning strike shuts down camera on Tofino-Ucluelet highway

“One of our radio repeater sites was recently struck by lightning.”

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read