The University of Victoria's final design for its parkade.

Revised UVic parkade plans handed over to Saanich planners

University of Victoria reduces size and scope of its parking garage project to appease neighbours, council

The University of Victoria is hoping the latest incarnation of its parkade is its last.

The post-secondary institution submitted its updated design to the Saanich planning department on May 30.

The 10-metre high, vine-covered, 332-stall parking garage is now a shadow of its former self – a previous design that councillors and community members didn’t support last year because of its size, esthetics and location on campus.

“(A renewed community consultation process) has resulted in changes to the size and height of the parking structure, along with a reduction in the number of parking spaces which it provides,” reads the new UVic development variance permit application. “Along with addressing the concerns of local residents, the revised parkade design meets the needs of the university and the functions of the … facility.”

The original plan, which went before Saanich council last August and October, was a seven-level, 19.5-metre tall, 503-stall parkade.

The university held a number of open houses and community forums earlier this year to gather feedback on a variety of parkade options, including height, location and its final look.

And while the variance application states the neighbouring community associations support the new design, Gordon Head Residents’ Association president Don Gunn said the original, rejected plan was better.

“The only comment I have is that it’s too bad that it’s gone through this process and we’re going to end up with a parkade that’s really not going to meet the demand for parking,” he said.

The estimated $13.4-million parkade is proposed to include one level of underground parking and four levels above ground. As it is part of a larger sports facility project, which is being built on top of an existing parking lot, only 98 new parking stalls will be created.

Kristi Simpson, associate vice-president of campus planning, acknowledged in an interview with the News in late April that the new parkade, if approved, would only solve a fraction of the parking needs on campus.

“We did a transportation and parking report back in 2008 that told us between the years 2013 and 2018, even with a good (transportation demand management) program, we need to build up to 800 new stalls,” she said. “This gets us 100, and as we move forward we’ll have to think about how we accommodate that other 700.”

Saanich bylaws require that the university install one parking stall for every 50 square metres of new building. In the last decade, UVic has successfully lobbied Saanich council to support parking variances to install fewer parking stalls than required.

The university’s planned Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities will be a 17,685-square-metre complex, with a 2,100-seat gym, a four-court field house, an elevated running track and climbing centre.

Saanich director of planning Sharon Hvozdanski said her department will review the plans then produce a report. She anticipated council would have the document “prior to the fall.”



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