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Signature building to serve as catalyst for Shelbourne renewal

While staffers plan out the future of Shelbourne Valley – complete with dense centres and walkable villages – council OK'd what it hopes will be the "catalyst" for that change Monday night.

A small three-storey building – which will house a Vancity credit union, a medical practice and office space – will replace the single-floor dry cleaner and barbershop at the corner of Cedar Hill X Road and Stamboul Street.

Complete with renewed pedestrian walkways, geothermal heating, a green roof and a green wall, council lauded the applicant for collaborating with the community to put forward the best possible proposal.

"They don't just have an open house and show residents this is what's going in, they work together with the community to develop something that fits," said Coun. Dean Murdock.

"This will stand out as the best community development in the area," Coun. Susan Brice said. "I suspect it'll be the catalyst to entice other property owners in the area to get moving."

The building, which was sent to public hearing, includes a 95-per-cent parking variance. (Zoning requires 83 stalls, and only four are proposed.)

Located on the south side of Shelbourne Village Square, there already exists 107 stalls in the parking lot and traffic consultants determined peak parking  demand for both the existing mall, which houses Tim Hortons, Macs and Bosley's Pet Food Mart, and the new building would be 96 stalls. There is also space for roughly 55 cars to park on Kisber and Stamboul streets.

Councillors also commended the applicant's transportation demand management plan, which includes widening area sidewalks, installing plenty of on-site bicycle storage, building a new bus stop on Shelbourne Street and offering an enticing bus pass program for Vancity employees.

Councillors Leif Wergeland and Judy Brownoff suggested making some design improvements so the non-green walls aren't so "stark."

"It's interesting how these areas and corridors evolve," noted Coun. Paul Gerrard, "but the one thing they have to have is a signature building. I think this'll kickstart other buildings to equal it."

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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