Gregory Hartnell, independent Oak Bay Council Candidate, is opposed to ‘out-of-scale’ 6 storey Garry Oaks Village plan to replace Oak Bay Lodge: ‘I advocate a strict policy of four storey height maximums for construction of new buildings for District of Oak Bay.’

Artist’s drawing shows the design for Garry Oaks Village, the proposed replacement for Oak Bay Lodge, that was presented to Oak ay councillors this week. Courtesy Baptist Housing

As an Oak Bay Councillor Candidate in the upcoming November 19 election, I stand opposed to the out-of-scale development application by Baptist Housing for a proposed six storey building called Garry Oaks Village to replace the existing Oak Bay Lodge, which is not in the public interest of the neighbours, nor is it in the best interest of the District of Oak Bay.

Notwithstanding the fact that I recognize that Baptist Housing provides an excellent service to the Oak Bay and Greater Victoria community, if elected to Council, I promise to oppose this out-of-scale plan, which is at least two storeys too high.
I would encourage Baptist Housing to leave the present Oak Bay Lodge in place and keep it in good repair, and to purchase other lands to build more moderate housing elsewhere in Oak Bay.
I should also mention that my dear wife Dawn Keough is employed by Baptist Housing at Mount Edward’s Court, near our Rockland home, on the corner of Vancouver Street.
I advocate a strict policy of four storey height maximums for construction of new buildings for the District of Oak Bay.
Oak Bay Beach Hotel was a huge mistake, is only 50% sold after seven years of delays, and is still unfinished.
The present Oak Bay District Council made a huge mistake in approving the out-of-scale Oak Bay Beach Hotel, and it should not make a similar mistake by approving the out-of-scale Baptist Housing proposal for Garry Oaks Village.
Gregory Hartnell
Independent non-partisan Councillor Candidate
1357 Rockland Avenue
Victoria V8S 1V7
Tel. 250 382 97 67
Oak Bay Election Campaign 2011 website:

    Oak Bay Lodge project moving forward

    Published: September 01, 2011 5:00 PM


    The primary proponent to assume management of a replacement for Oak Bay Lodge has unveiled plans for a new six-storey care facility on the current site.



    Baptist Housing has an agreement with the Vancouver Island Health Authority to operate the new facility and a deal for the transfer of land from VIHA to the Capital Regional District is in place.



    Both agreements are awaiting approval from the provincial government.



    Nevertheless, the housing provider has contracted Patrick Cotter Architects to work on a design. The proposed 320-bed facility, tentatively named Garry Oaks, would have space for dementia care and residential living, but not independent living, which is a feature of the current Oak Bay Lodge.



    Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton likes what he’s seen of the design so far.



    “Early indications are that it’s a really good change,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us as a community to get a completely new building. I think we’re incredibly lucky.”



    In 2009 VIHA announced plans to close Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital in Saanich and replace them with one facility. Since then, the future of the two seniors’ residences has taken a number of twists and turns.



    The CRD made an offer to purchase the Oak Bay Lodge lands in March of this year, but that purchase is still awaiting the go-ahead from the province. While progress is being made on the fate of Oak Bay Lodge, what will happen to Mount Tolmie remains up in the air.



    “Hopefully by early October there will be a government announcement,” said VIHA spokesperson Shannon Marshall. “Everything now hinges on provincial government approval.”



    Baptist Housing already runs three facilities in Oak Bay, all of which are just a few blocks from the proposed development.



    Shannon Oaks is an independent living residence, while  Marrion Village provides assisted living facilities as well as subsidized rental housing.



    Elgin Gardens is exclusively made up of subsidized units.



    The new facility would fill a gap in the seniors’ housing community, said Baptist Housing spokesperson Deanna Bogart.



    “We have identified that need for care,” she said.



    Building on the current Oak Bay Lodge site will mean finding alternate accommodations for its current tenants, who will need somewhere to live during construction.



    VIHA has said no resident would be left without housing as a result of construction.



    Baptist Housing CEO Howard Johnson said while responsibility for relocating residents lies with VIHA, his organization will work with the health authority to try to ensure Oak Bay Lodge residents remain in the municipality.



    Baptist Housing will present the Garry Oaks design again at the Sept. 12 council meeting. They’re also tentatively planning an open house for sometime this month – Sept. 17 is the proposed date – which will allow members of the community to give their input on the design.




    Size matters for Lodge’s replacement, say neighbouring residents

    By Arnold Lim – Oak Bay News
    Published: October 06, 2011 4:00 PM
    Updated: October 06, 2011 4:41 PM

    Residents are standing up against the proposed Garry Oaks Village.

    Hoping to keep the sun shining on their homes – and their neighbourhoods from increased traffic – a group of people who live around the existing seniors’ care facility expressed concerns Monday to Oak Bay councillors over plans to replace the aging Oak Bay Lodge.

    Baptist Housing, the proposed operator of Garry Oaks Village, is asking for two variances to existing zoning restrictions on the property. The main one that upset residents would see the new building more than double the height of the existing one.

    “This was a bylaw which was put there for a reason. I don’t think we can lightly change it,” said Hampshire Road resident James Chestnut, who said such changes would affect the value of his home. “I think the onus is on the applicant to make sure it is not a hardship on the residents.”

    Representatives of Baptist Housing – it currently operates Shannon Oaks independent living and Marrion Village assisted-living residences in Oak Bay – the Vancouver Island Health Authority and Cotter Architects outlined the proposal at this week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting.

    The plan calls for a building height of 24.45 metres, well above the 10.77 m limit under current zoning – although the existing building stands 11.74 m.

    “We do acknowledge there will be significant impact,” architect Patrick Cotter said of the proposed complex, “in select buildings, in particular.”

    The other variance requested would reduce the number of parking spaces from the required 320 to 107, about one for every three beds. The current Oak Bay Lodge lot contains 68 parking spots, or less than one for every four beds.

    In defending the plan, Cotter said refurbishing the current building up to provincial standards would cost as much as a new facility. The proposed $140-million project could last 60 years, he added, but wouldn’t make economic sense without the changes.

    “This kind of scale is needed to absorb that kind of capital cost. That is not achievable in the existing form of the existing building. It is not a viable business plan.”

    The project proposes raising the number of beds from the current 280 to 320. Cotter, armed with a digital 3-D computer presentation, offered details of the overall design to councillors and a packed gallery at Oak Bay municipal hall.

    Most residents who got up to speak, however, were concerned more with the effect on their quality of life than the quality of the design.

    Another bone of contention for many was that councillors had a limited time to decide on the variance requests.

    Baptist Housing asked that a decision be made by Oct. 24 so it could secure financing and a favourable interest rate for the project.

    Given that the project is being overseen by the health authority, it still needs provincial government approval to move forward.

    “I think they tried to work (in) what they need to make this work – the scale – into that neighbourhood, but it is a tight fit and it is high. No question it will have an impact,” Mayor Christopher Causton said after the meeting.

    “(However), if we turn this down, what are the alternatives? If they don’t get the height variance what happens? Do we miss the window of opportunity to get the funding? These are serious questions for a community.”

    Causton was sensitive to the tight timeline and the pressure it was putting on all parties.

    “I knew they were under a deadline, (but) I didn’t know it was as tight as that. That is a lot of pressure … I want to see if there was any room for movement.”

    The mayor and councillors deferred their decision, after securing a promise from Baptist Housing that it would consult further with residents and look at potential ways of easing the impact of the project. Council will discuss the matter further at next Tuesday’s (Oct. 11) council meeting.

    Some residents, including Hampshire Road resident John Rankin, are hoping for more time.

    “This is an active neighbourhood… We don’t know (yet) what impact it will have. Once you grant this variance we lose all negotiating power,” Rankin said. “When we bought the property we never expected (to see that type of development) based on the Official Community Plan. (For) $140 million and three years (of planning and construction) what is two months?”


    3 Responses to Gregory Hartnell, independent Oak Bay Council Candidate, is opposed to ‘out-of-scale’ 6 storey Garry Oaks Village plan to replace Oak Bay Lodge: ‘I advocate a strict policy of four storey height maximums for construction of new buildings for District of Oak Bay.’

    1. Jonathon says:

      The idea of having a financial deadline therefore forcing council to go ahead reeks very much like the threat imposed on the city of Victoria about the Johnson Street bridge. Disappointed in the mayor’s comments about a window of opportunity. I guess he does not care as he nothing to block views from his home.
      The Oak Bay beach hotel is another white elephant. Too big and too obvious and can now be seen from miles away as it hogs the skyline.

      • goyodelarosa says:

        I agree, Jonathon, and therefor I advocate a four storey height restriction for all new projects in Oak Bay, and that Baptist Housing leave the existing Oak Bay Lodge as is, working with the District to find an alternative piece of property to develop, if need be.
        No project of this magnitude should be forced through under duress, and certainly the lessons to be learnt from the Oak Bay Beach Hotel fiasco should tell Oak Bay voters that it is very important to ensure that developers have proper bona fide financial footing, otherwise Oak Bay ends up seven years later with an out of scale project only half sold and still far from finished…

        Please vote Gregory Hartnell for Oak Bay Council

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