This artistic rendering of the future Edmonton Velodrome appears in the report that the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association has submitted as part of the group’s proposal for a velodrome in Saanich. (FaulknerBrowns Architects/HCMA Architecture+Design/Submitted)

Saanich committee to hear plans for velodrome project in excess of $96 million

Proposed ‘Hub’ complex would be near Uptown

Plans for a multiplex velodrome near Uptown that could cost almost $97 million will appear before members of a Saanich committee Thursday.

Elements of the so-called ‘Hub’ proposal submitted by the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association “may include, but are not limited” to 250-metre velodrome track, sports facilities and administrative offices of various kinds, a multi-disciplinary medical facility, public spaces, a community school and library, convention space, and an “[affiliated hotel] and possible residential accommodation (privately owned or timeshare).”

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The proposed facility to be located within 100 metres Uptown Shopping Centre near the bridge where the Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails meet would be “premier facility for track cycling in the Pacific Northwest,” attracting national and international teams for training and competition, according to the report.

It would also “present synergistic opportunities” to enhance local sport tourism by increasing the number of area hotel rooms and “attracting major sporting events (primarily court sports, conventions, cycling)” while catering to cycling tourists as a “base” for outdoor cycling training and adventures.

Thank to its “strategic location” at the “confluence of the regional cycling network and major transit and traffic thoroughfares,” the proposed facility would serve as a community space for the Uptown-Douglas Corridor, an area slated for growth through densification.

About 140,000 people live within a 10-minute drive of the Uptown-Douglas Corridor area, whose population has annually grown by 1.7 per cent over the past five years; roughly double the rate of Saanich and the Capital Regional District, according to the report.

The report promises that the facility would help reduce the region’s carbon footprint, because of its accessibility by alternate forms of transport, a point that it underscores by the proposed location is “synergistic” with plans by BC Transit to build a Transit Hub in the area.

The two facilities would not only share the same site to reduce costs and enhance services, but could also have “complementary designs.”

BC Transit owns about one-third of the facility’s preferred location between by the Trans-Canada Highway, Cadillac Avenue, Harriet Road and the Galloping Goose trail. Eighteen commercial parcels currently occupy the entirety of the site.

If the report abounds with ambition, it leaves some questions unanswered, starting with final costs and financing.

The report presents three options, ranging from $76.2 million to $96.8 million for the preferred option. But these numbers appear fluid.

“The estimated cost depends upon the final location, design, construction and associated amenities,” it reads. “[However], it is with confidence that the public liability will be substantially less than a comparable stand-alone facility, while the private components too will benefit from the efficiencies anticipated within this joint venture.”

According to the report, the business case is “predicated on a core public space and amenities that will be subsidized by the public on a per capita basis.” This said, the report promises that “symbiotic partnerships” with private business and other governmental agencies that require infrastructure and amenities would mitigate build and maintenance costs.

“As of this writing, relationships are being cultivated in order to achieve the required funding, partnerships and social license to move forward with this conceptual proposal,” it reads.

The report’s timetable proposes construction of the facility to start in the third quarter of 2020, running through the first quarter of 2022.

Thursday’s presentation will be before the parks, trails and recreation advisory committee. Members of the planning, transportation, and economic development advisory committee heard the presentation earlier this month.


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