We need your support to help protect the character and tree canopy in our Gonzales community. Many pedestrians and cyclists share our love for the wonderful mature trees in our neighbourhood, which would be forever diminished by a proposed development at 902 Foul Bay Road–bounded by Quamichan and Redfern Streets. While we welcome development and densification, there is no reason why it cannot be balanced: respectful and in harmony with our community.
Aryze Developments Inc. is planning to build an extensive 18-townhouse complex on this single-family, heritage-designated site. The lot is a beautiful Garry oak meadow, upon which a heritage home used to sit until it was lost to fire while owned by a previous developer. Aryze proposes to remove over 24 trees, including two large heritage Beech and 60% of the protected Garry Oaks. The mature trees are not only beautiful—they play a significant role in climate change by sequestering carbon, storing water during heavy rain events, and cooling the earth. They also provide food and housing for countless birds, mammals, and pollinators. These trees will not survive the development, notwithstanding its "protected trees" bylaw and the stated policy to make trees a priority. Their survival needs to be paramount to the desire for densification. The Aryze proposal also provides limited onsite parking: which will impose street congestion and hazardous traffic flow on what is currently a safe, pedestrian-friendly street. The project was initially promoted as "affordable housing" then changed to "attainable" as the developer is cynically offering 4 units to be 15% "below market" upon completion. For the rest of the units a minimum combined family income of over $ 160,000 will be required to qualify, which is at least double the amount stated in City of Victoria's approved policy on Affordable Housing.
There is a legal restricted-use clause registered on the property (“restrictive covenant”), which prohibits the construction of anything other than a private dwelling (single family home). Aryze, through its investment partner, has started a legal action by way of a Petition (law suit) affecting over 100 neighbours, in the Supreme Court to remove the restrictive covenant. Only 12 were actually named and some of them personally served. The others were "notified" via an advertisement in two free newspapers, and that advertisement did not identify street addresses, or specify the details of the covenant. The neighbours who were named and personally served with Aryze's legal action (Petition to Supreme Court), were also hand-delivered a letter by Aryze which mislead them as to the nature of the legal action, told them it was not "ideal" to seek legal advice and oppose (not ideal for Arze), and warned them that Aryze would seek costs against them if they opposed.
In other words: Aryze tried to notify as few people as possible, and misled and threatened the rest so they could eliminate the possibility of any opposition. Yet Aryze continually promotes itself as conducting good faith "community engagement". Some of our neighbours have hired a lawyer to stand up to this developer, and are opposing the removal of the covenant, in order to stop a development which removes most of the older heritage trees, isn't affordable and does not give back anything to our neighbourhood.
If you love our beautiful, treed and charming neighbourhood,
and want to stand with your neighbours to fight against oppressive conduct,
you can help by contributing funds to help finance this defence.
You can contribute directly by e-transfer to the mail address below or
to Alan Loomer.
For more information
(250) [phone redacted]
alanloomer -at -gmail.com