Having unexpected variances for the new mayor’s development on the agenda for the first committee meeting of the new council was a bit much for at least one councillor.
Second up at the committee of the whole meeting last Wednesday was a delegation of Brad Cronquist and Jay Simons, agents for Jalita Management – Mayor Darrell Trouton’s company. Their presentation related to a request for variances – later on the agenda – for Trouton’s proposed affordable housing development along Parksville Street. The variances are to delay required upgrades along Parksville and Larch Avenue – to do them in phases corresponding with phases of subdivision.
Cronquist argued that doing the required works and servicing grades up front – at a cost of $900,000 – would detrimental to the project. District staff, however, is opposed to the variances, noting there is no definitive time frame for the delays, while expressing a concern for the effect the phased approach would have on neighbours.
Coun. Charlotte Hutchinson also didn’t like the idea of delaying the upgrades (sidewalk, lighting, etc.), at least along Parksville. But not before commenting on Trouton’s project coming before council right after the election.
“When I first read this… I was completely overwhelmed by it,” said Hutchinson. “I thought, holy crap, the first week, a new council, a new mayor… I was completely taken aback by the abruptness of it.”
After the meeting, Trouton, who had stepped out due to conflict of interest, said he had similar thoughts when he saw the variances were on the agenda last Thursday.
“I guess at that point in time I could have chosen to forget it, and not do it, but I thought, you know, get it over with,” said Trouton. “It’s been a long time waiting for this to come forward. I was surprised by it but hey, you deal with things as they come along.”
Council ended up tabling the variances for January. Trouton said that was a good decision, that it gives everybody a chance to think about it a little bit.