Aryze Brought a Legal Action against over 100 Neighbours
Aryze Developments Inc. is planning to build an extensive 18-townhouse complex on this single-family, heritage-designated site. The lot is a beautiful Garry oak meadow upon which a heritage home used to sit until it was lost to fire while owned by a previous developer. Aryze proposes to remove 29 trees including two large heritage Beech and 70% of the protected Garry Oaks. The mature trees are not only beautiful—they play a significant role in climate change by sequestering carbon, storing water during heavy rain events, and cooling the earth. They also provide food and housing for countless birds, mammals, and pollinators. The City will not protect these trees notwithstanding its "protected trees" bylaw and the mayor's stated policy to make trees a priority. It seems that densification is paramount. The Aryze proposal also provides limited onsite parking: which will impose street congestion and hazardous traffic flow on what is currently a safe, pedestrian-friendly street. The project is being marketed as "affordable housing" yet a minimum combined family income of at least $ 155,000 will be required to qualify which is at least double the amount stated in City of Victoria's approved policy on Affordable Housing. In other words affordable only a few with high incomes.
There is a legal restricted-use clause registered on the property (“restrictive covenant”), which prohibits the construction of anything other than a private dwelling (single family home). Aryze, has started a legal action by way of a Petition (law suit) affecting over 100 neighbours, in the Supreme Court to remove the restrictive covenant. Only 12 neighbours were actually named and personally served. The others were "notified" via an advertisement in two free newspapers, and that advertisement did not identify street addresses, or specify the details of the covenant. The neighbours who were named and personally served with Aryze's legal action (law suit), were also hand delivered a letter by Aryze which mislead them as to the nature of the law suit, told them it was not "ideal" to seek legal advice (not ideal for Arze), and "warned" them that Aryze would seek costs against them if they opposed. The intent of Aryze, was to reduce the possibility of any opposition.You can help by clicking on "Take Action" on this site.
The current beautiful Garry Oak meadow at 902 Foul Bay Road
Aryze at work clearing trees for another condo project in Fairfield
Don't let the the beautiful Gary Oak meadow end up looking like this!
Details about Aryze's Legal Action:
The Restrictive Covenant provides as follows.
"No building is to be erected upon any lot other than a private dwelling house with suitable outbuildings; and no dwelling house to be erected upon any lot adjoining or fronting on Foul Bay Road shall cost less in erection thereof than Four Thousand Dollars ($4,000.00) and on other lots not less than Two thousand dollars ($2,000.00)"
Below is the advertisement that Aryze's lawyers placed in the Oak Bay News "notifying" the over 100 other neighbours affected by the covenant. Note how vague it is. It would be practically impossible to know if you were affected by it or what it was about.
This is a letter from Aryze's lawyer enclosing the Petition to Court (law suit) and advising the neighbours served (respondents) that they have 21 days to respond, and recommending that they obtain legal advice.
Below is a letter handed to respondents (neighbours) by an employee of Aryze at the same time as they received the letter from Aryze's lawyers above. It misinforms them that: they don't really have an interest in the litigation, that the legal action (law suit) is disconnected from the development process ( Aryze cannot build contrary to the covenant or forced to remove it), that the covenant is vague and needs interpretation (it has been judicially interpreted as having a distinct legal meaning), that if they obtained legal advice it wouldn't be ideal (for Aryze) and that if they opposed Aryze would seek costs against them (contrary to the case law which indicates it would be unlikely for Aryze to get costs against neighbours who opposed).
Below is a letter from Aryze by Luke Mari delivered to the neighbourhood in response to the organized to opposition. It states that that "some in the neighbourhood" are "fabricating" that Aryze has sued the neighbours and that Aryze welcomes any opposition to their law suit. Ironically the letter which complains about misinformation is itself misleading. Legal actions in BC are commenced by Notice of Claim and Petition. Aryze named and served individuals and threatened them that if they defended Aryze would seek compensation against them. That's an unusual way of "welcoming opposition." Aryze also claims that removing all of the heritage trees and most of the protected Gary Oaks is good stewardship. And patronizingly tells people that change is scary but they shouldn't think about their project but rather who it will house. Whatever that means.