Saanich council has asked for more information before fully endorsing a large scale development plan for the Uptown-Douglas corridor.
Council met Monday (Aug. 10) to discuss the 20-year plan that would see area turned into the “heart for Saanich and the region,” with commercial, residential, light industrial and community development improving density housing and employment opportunities, public spaces and improved transportation networks.
Council was impressed by the 164-page staff report filled with maps, renderings and clear policy proposal on everything from land use and mobility to environment and urban design. Council endorsed the plan in principle but requested a supplemental report before moving towards public engagement.
“Some novel ideas have come up,” Mayor Fred Haynes told Black Press Media. “We just want the opportunity to explore them more.”
Council asked for a report with correspondence from committees on housing, transportation and economic development.
“We need information around preserving current industrial uses like car dealerships, tile, carpet industries … We want to bring housing, green space, improve tree coverage from six to 20 per cent, but it also hinges on maintaining the employment base,” Haynes said, adding the proposal has been in the works for five years.
Haynes expects updates from staff near the end of September, but the report is only one piece of the puzzle. Staff have also been asked to prepare amendments to the Official Community Plan – including changes to permit building heights up to 24 storeys and undertake a pilot pre-zoning project. Council will refer the development of the off-street parking standards in the area for a strategic planning session.
“It just reflects the amount of detailed material in the report and the concern of this council to not rush the final draft and check in on some of these critical elements,” Haynes said, adding the infrastructure created in the coming decades will be built to last at least 100 years.