What We Heard at the Pop-Up Open House

Application for Temporary Use Permit to Offer Coffee and Food Service

OVERVIEW

A drop-in style open house was held to create an opportunity for Colwood residents to learn more about the project and process, speak with project staff and coffee shop proponent, and share their ideas, concerns, and feedback about the coffee pop-up. All feedback will further inform Gablecraft’s active application to the City of Colwood for a temporary use permit.

One of the most common comments Gablecraft Homes receives from Royal Bay residents is that they’d like to have access to food and coffee services sooner than later. As a result, Gablecraft is applying to the City
of Colwood for approval of a temporary establishment that will offer coffee and light fare, outdoor seating and walk-up and drive-thru access, as well as a small food truck court, while construction of the Commons is underway.

This event builds on previous engagement events hosted by Gablecraft to keep Colwood residents informed and to create opportunities for residents to provide feedback to inform the land-use application process. Engagement throughout the development of the rezoning application is helping inform Gablecraft respond to the input received to prepare an application that is informed by Colwood residents and immediate neighbours to the site.

EVENT FORMAT

The pop-up open house was held Tuesday, October 1, 2019, from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the proposed location for the temporary coffee shop on the south side of Latoria Boulevard at Ryder Hesjedal Way. The pop-up was designed to create an outdoor coffee and food experience that helped attendees envision what coffee and food services might be like in the neighbourhood. Consistent with the application, the event included covered and outdoor seating, coffee and light food offerings, a food truck, bike and vehicle parking, and was dog and family-friendly.

Staff from Gablecraft, Truffles Catering, Sequoia Coffee, and Tavola Strategy Group (public engagement consultants) were on hand to answer questions of the public and receive their feedback. Attendees were encouraged to learn more about Sequoia Coffee and the proposed site and landscaping plan, view renderings of the coffee shop concept and learn more about the longer-term plans for permanent commercial and housing offerings in the Commons.

The purpose of the open house was to:

  • Share the plans for providing temporary coffee and food services while construction of the Commons commercial forms is underway;
  • seek feedback from residents about the proposed temporary use;
  • demonstrate how the temporary use application is responsive to feedback received from residents to see food and coffee services introduced sooner than later.

Each attendee was provided a feedback form to complete including a question to determine where attendees live in proximity to the site.

PROMOTION & AWARENESS-RAISING

  • Invitations were hand-delivered to all homes with the Royal Bay neighbourhood, the week prior.
  • Posters were placed on community mailboxes within the new and older Royal Bay neighbourhoods.
  • Social media posts were shared by Royal Bay, City of Colwood and Colwood Community Association Facebook page, and various suppliers associated with the event.
  • Direct outreach occurred to Mayor and Council, City of Colwood staff, and Royal Bay Secondary staff.

WHO PARTICIPATED

  • 153 people attended the pop-up open house, and 61 feedback cards were received.
  • Of the 61 respondents who provided written feedback 47 indicated they were from Colwood, with 43 living within the Royal Bay neighbourhood.
  • Many had attended previous Royal Bay engagement events.
  • Most attendees walked to the event.

WHAT WAS SHARED

Large display boards provided an overview of the proposal (see Appendix B) and background about Sequoia Coffee (see Appendix C), the local coffee supplier who would operate the temporary coffee shop. Topics included:

  1. Landscaping and site concept.
  2. Temporary Sequoia coffee shop renderings – from two perspectives, highlighting proposed amenities.
  3. Overview of Sequoia Coffee including an overview of their menu offerings, the company, their culture and Sam Jones, the proprietor.
  4. The Commons – Commercial forms
  5. The Commons – Housing forms

WHAT WAS HEARD

Staff and consultants were able to speak with almost all who attended, answering questions and providing an overview of what is proposed.
A number of themes emerged from the 61 feedback forms received and a further breakdown of feedback by question is noted in Appendix A:

  • The strong majority of respondents (53) were supportive of the proposed coffee shop and food truck court. Only two attendees responded “no” indicating they felt a permanent solution and community gathering space were needed. Six were undecided.
  • The most common reasons respondents supported the proposal were the close proximity, followed by support for the modern and creative look, and the partnership with a local coffee provider.
  • Many commented that it was a positive start and a great temporary solution and encouraged Gablecraft to “hurry up”.
  • Some specifically highlighted the benefit to Royal Bay Secondary staff and students, as well as trades people working in the area.
  • Several noted the benefit it would bring for community connectedness, building a sense of community and creating a place for neighbours to gather.
  • When asked what else they would like to see, a variety of longer-term suggestions were provided. The two most common suggestions were a pub or family restaurant, grocery store and park/kids area.

WHAT’S NEXT

All input will be considered in detail and will further inform Gablecraft’s active application to the City of Colwood for a temporary use permit. This What We Heard report is available below so attendees and those who didn’t attend can see what feedback was received.