Three trees in a mound on contaminated dirt in Sidney will be removed when the site they’re on is redeveloped into a new commercial area. (Steven Heywood/News Staff)

Existing trees at Sidney Crossing site will fall

All of the trees at the corner of Beacon Avenue and the Pat Bay Highway within the proposed site of the Sidney Crossing commercial development project are going to disappear.

Omicron Developments Ltd. recently responded to a list of Town of Sidney concerns about the property, after the municipality was given a copy of the company’s updated plans for the site late in 2017. One of the top items on that list came after a smattering of residents, concerned over the loss of the trees on the mound of dirt at the corner, expressed their wish to see those trees preserved.

RELATED: Town wants assurances over overpass, trees

In their response to council, Omicron stated all the trees on that part of the property will come down, and be replaced elsewhere in the development.

“The two coniferous trees are growing on a pile of fill that is contaminated and will have to be removed as part of the site development,” Omicron stated in their response to council. ‘Two new coniferous (Douglas fir) trees will be replanted on the site to mitigate the loss of those trees.”

An additional tree that the Town had asked Omicron to consider saving is also going to go. Omicron stated that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure did not agree to allow relocation of a sign into its right-of-way, that could have allowed the tree to be saved. As a result, it too will come down.

Sidney also sought assurance that Omicron would be putting up security for the planned construction of a pedestrian overpass over the highway near James White Boulevard. The municipality asked the company to adhere to the terms of the memorandum of agreement signed between the Town, Omicron and the Victoria Airport Authority on Sept. 7, 2016. Omicron, in its response read by council Monday night (Jan. 8), stated they would do so.

Sidney has been after a pedestrian overpass in that area for years. Residents of the West Sidney area currently must use either a crosswalk at the Beacon Avenue and Highway 17 intersection, or an existing overpass near MacDonald Park Road.

The original design for the proposed overpass connected the Sidney Crossing property with the walkway next to the Mary Winspear Centre. It was later moved further north up the highway, in part to prevent people from having to cross additional roads.

Sidney also asked for some site and building changes to facilitate visual improvements, the concealing of garbage areas and asked Omicron to add a drinking fountain and children’s play area. Omicron agreed to the fountain, but not the play area, as it would have eliminated their planned First Nations art works display.

Sidney Crossing is an approximately 100,000 square foot commercial development on land held by the Victoria Airport Authority. It’s expected to become home to a new grocery store, electronics store, medical offices, restaurants and more.

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