Updated: Mar 9, 2022
The Future of Sea Terrace
by Terry Males, a resident of Sea Terrace
A 5 storey, 19-unit development is proposed for the corner of Dunsmuir Road and Sea Terrace in West Bay. On behalf of the residents of Sea Terrace, Terry Males describes the community in which he lives and provides an alternative proposal for 734 Sea Terrace.
I live on Sea Terrace, which is on the south east boundary of Esquimalt. It is a short downhill roadway of approximately 500 metres ending with a pedestrian pathway leading into Barnard Park and the Westsong Walkway. Its curved and narrow definition is enriched by one to three story residences, mostly townhomes, offering architectural setbacks and garden spaces that complement the attractive bedrock outcroppings and provide a sense of spaciousness and proportion to all who enjoy its charms. Our little community serves as a bridge between the municipalities of Esquimalt and Vic West.
The urban forest found along our street and in Barnard Park is impressive. Among the trees are mature Douglas Firs, Garry Oaks, Big Leaf Maples, Sweet Cherries, Elms, Lebanese Cedar and two sizeable Sequoias. These sequoias must have been a legacy from the time of the early gardens of the Barnard family. The presence of such a diverse urban forest is fundamental to the attractiveness of Sea Terrace and the West Bay neighbourhood.
The scale, nature, and location of Sea Terrace has created a vibrant pedestrian corridor used and appreciated by many people on a daily basis to pursue a variety of healthy activities. Here is a community in every sense of the word. Neighbours meet on the street to casually chat. Dog owners regularly walk their dogs to the park. People come from a variety of locations around Esquimalt to access Barnard Park or the Westsong Walkway. In Barnard Park, residents find a children’s playground, tennis courts, picnic tables, and a dog friendly zone. A safe gateway to these resources will be important to the health and welfare of new residents moving into the new high-density developments along Esquimalt and Dunsmuir Roads.
Scala Developments Ltd, a Victoria based company, is presently working with the Municipality of Esquimalt to gain approval to erect a 5 story, 19-unit building at the top of the hill to replace the current single-family home at 734 Sea Terrace. The proposed building will front onto Sea Terrace, with a good expanse of the building’s side visible as you proceed up Dunsmuir Road.
When it comes to a sense of community and neighbourhood, I think we can all agree that size and mass matter. The West Bay Neighbourhood Guidelines, which form part of Esquimalt’s OCP, stipulate that “neighbourliness” should be required of new developments by ensuring buildings are sited to complement the type, scale, and use of adjacent buildings. It further states that “New projects should provide a sensitive transition to near-by, less-intensive zones or areas of different uses”.
Sea Terrace residents and the West Bay community at large welcome new development into the community. However, new development needs to be sensitive to and complement the form and character of adjacent properties, something the current proposal does not accomplish. We suggest that townhouses would be more in keeping with and a better fit for the character of the neighbourhood in which Scala wishes to develop. Townhomes would also provide a gentle transition from the large multi-floored apartment buildings down the south side of Dunsmuir Road and would blend in well with the new townhomes proposed across the street on Dunsmuir at the Tyn-y-Coed property and in the future along Wollaston.
If you would like to learn more about our Sea Terrace community, the proposed development at 734 Sea Terrace, and issues the development raises such as pedestrian safety, traffic, parking, shadowing effect, threat to heritage trees, etc., please visit our website: friendsofseaterrace.ca.