Changes approved for stalled seniors facility

Project will bring 145-unit independent supportive living seniors’ residence to Gorge Road West

Development of a seniors care facility on Gorge Road West is back on track, following the approval of changes to the proposed building.

At Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, Saanich council approved a half-dozen changes to the form, character and number of units of a proposed independent supportive living seniors’ residence at 998 Gorge Rd. West. Zoning and development provisions for the project were approved last year, but an unforeseen increase in costs caused organizers to sit down with the city and prepare an amendment to the original plan.

“Rather than being in a position to start construction, we have been diligently refining the design of the project and reviewing all operational aspects,” said John Kuharchuk, senior vice-president of development at Campion Property Group. “In our review of those proposed changes with planning, it was felt that those needed to come back to council as they were somewhat different.

“In our efforts to move ahead with the project, there have been many changes that meet the aspirations of the community and council… and what they’ve resulted in is a significant increase in costs from where we were when we were last before you.”

Kuharchuk estimated the expense increase at 35 per cent, largely due to the facility’s continuum of care occupancy and environmental remediation costs related to the one-pump gas station that used to be part of the Brookman’s corner store.

Changes to the original proposal include removing patios and accessible balconies from suites for safety reasons, lowering the height of the centre roof, switching from metal to asphalt shingles and using different materials for the exterior finish. The developers also made changes to the Brookman’s heritage building to better reflect the store’s original appearance, and the addition of two units, bringing the total up to 145.

“We don’t ask lightly, but we really do need council to allow us to proceed on the basis that’s been presented because it has a very significant impact on how we can move forward,” said Kuharchuk.

Prior to council’s comments, Wendy Farwell of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association said the group has been pleased with the amount of communication from the developer, architect and operator.

“They’ve been very responsive – they’ve come to meetings, they’ve brought materials, answered our questions, taken our input,” she said.

However, speaking as a citizen, Farwell said she would like more one-on-one communication between area residents and the developer to keep up to date on the development, expressing concerns with the ongoing delay of the project.

“It’s a big hole in the ground and it’s a construction site with a fence around it. It’s been there for quite a long time, and people driving by have no idea what’s going in there,” she said.

Kuharchuk addressed the delay, noting the remediation surrounding the removed fuel tanks and four rounds of cost analysis lent to postponement of construction. The project first went to public hearing back in January 2014. At that time, construction was expected to take 20 months.

Ken Johnson of the Saanich Heritage Foundation, which reviewed the application last year, commented in favour of the project, commending the developer for their work in preserving the Brookman’s site.

Before council’s unanimous vote to approve the amendment, Coun. Dean Murdock thanked the developer and said he is looking forward to seeing construction begin soon.

“At the end of the day, I think we’re all very pleased to see this moving forward,” said Murdock. “I’m very excited and was last year, and remain excited about this going into this location.”


Just Posted

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

Pizza brightens Saanich public hearing

Acting mayor Coun. Colin Plant orders snacks during marathon session

Staff recommend major boost to Langford council pay

After 13 years without an increase, mayor’s pay would double over next five years

Victoria couple seeks community’s help after e-bike stolen for second time

Voltbike stolen from parking garage on Quadra Street

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Sooke council urged to move faster on off-leash dog park plan

Resident questions why five of seven restricted parks are in Sooke

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Island community

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Most Read