A political desire for rental housing has trumped residents’ concerns.
Vernon council voted 5-2 Monday to approve a variance in parking for a 60-unit rental unit apartment planned for Centennial Drive.
“We need rental units in the community. This is a good project,” said Mayor Akbal Mund.
However, residents from adjacent apartment buildings protested the reduction in parking from 99 to 69 spaces.
“The proposal is a dramatic change and will set a dangerous precedent,” said resident Stan Lawlor.
Lawlor added that vehicles from the proposed development could clog Centennial Drive, and he disputes suggestions that many of the occupants in the complex will use bicycles instead of cars.
“Centennial Drive is a very steep hill. The slope of the hill is seven per cent,” he said.
Resident Beverly Strachan pointed out that there are wait lists for parking at the existing apartments now.
“Parking on the street is always full,” she said.
However, the developer insists less parking is required because many of the tenants will be young adults.
“Our marketing will be directed towards people not necessarily vehicle dependent,” said Pascal Toupin-Selinger, with Ironclad Developments.
One parking stall will be permitted per unit and besides encouraging cycling, transit passes will be made available to tenants.
The project received support from a majority of council.
“It’s hard to get rent in this community. It will fill a gap we have,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.
Opposition came from Councillors Scott Anderson and Bob Spiers.
“The traffic issue has been plaguing us for years,” said Anderson, adding that he isn’t convinced tenants will ride bikes or use transit.
“The city’s place isn’t to dictate what people should and shouldn’t do.”