Plans for a large warehouse in Sidney continue to draw a wide range of reactions.
Many of the submissions appearing before Sidney councillors at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, May 25 focus on the ways that the proposed warehouse — almost 23 metres tall — would impact local traffic. York Realty plans to build, then lease the proposed building (whose total gross area exceeds six standard-sized soccer fields) to a “last mile distribution company” whose identity remains unknown.
The official project description on the website of the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA), which has final approval authority, acknowledges the warehouse would “naturally” lead to more traffic in the area, but promises to mitigate effects through scheduling.
“(Delivery) dispatch schedules are proposed to occur during off-peak daytime hours and avoid the morning and late afternoon traffic rush,” it reads. “Line haul truck arrivals and departures will be occurring in the late evening only and will access the site from the west access point (away from the residential properties along Galaran Road) and reverse into an enclosed structure.”
Less concrete is VAA’s response to calls from the Town of Sidney to take what the municipality calls a “leadership role” with York Realty, the municipalities of Sidney and North Saanich and other stakeholders to ensure a roundabout is designed and constructed at the intersection of Beacon Avenue West and Galaran Road to realign nearby Stirling Way in accordance with a recent traffic study.
VAA authorities have promised to take this and other recommendations seriously, without having made a firm commitment.
“As part of a number of traffic improvements recommended in the (Beacon West Traffic Study), VAA is currently in discussions with both municipalities on how the construction of the traffic circle (at corner of Beacon Avenue and Galaran Road) may be realized,” reads the official project description.
Critics of the warehouse see things differently. Richard and Marilyn Taylor said in their letter that parties involved have never shown adequate leadership over the increasing traffic flowing in the area.
“This project will further increase the risk associated with negotiating that area,” it reads.
The recent round of correspondence on the subject also repeats familiar comments about the visual impact of the facility, but also includes statements of support.
“York Realty should not be taken for granted or pushed away as we are known to do,” said Scott Adams of Adams Storage. “A company of that caliber and strength will bring opportunity like no other to our communities. Lets show them the support they need to believe in (Victoria International Airport) enough to make that large of an investment.”
The estimated value of the building project is $50-million plus.
Sidney councillors are considering this correspondence some two weeks after passing a series of recommendations that call for various improvements without making a definitive statement for or against the proposal. One correspondent praised Sidney’s approach so far. “I think it is thorough, supportive of concerns and sensible (regarding) the impact on residents and traffic,” said Lynda Comber. “One thing I would have liked to have been mentioned is the fact that their trucks (and so) will be coming and going at night which could be a noisy affair for those living in the vicinity.”
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