Hillside mall expansion plan gets two-year extension

The new owners of Hillside Shopping Centre have an extra two years to launch an expansion originally granted to the former owners in January 2009 by Victoria city council.

Hillside Centre Holdings, a major Canadian pension fund, bought the mall in October.

“The purpose of the extension is to permit us time to fully understand all aspects of the approved program,” said Nick Sabat of Osmington Inc., representing the owner, in a letter to city council.

“It is not our intent to reinvent the wheel,” he wrote shortly after the acquisition.

The approved plans involve an 80,000-square-foot expansion, more exterior storefronts and better access for pedestrians, transit users and cyclists.

It also includes extensive tree planting, and an interpretive area for Bowker Creek, which runs through culverts under the mall.

While opening Bowker Creek to daylight is not practical, the original application proposed using storm water management to reduce runoff and pollution into the waterway, according to a city report.