by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter
Strong opposition has been voiced by the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs for a planned commercial-residential development of the Cordova Bay Plaza property.
“In summary, the current over-all feel is more urban shopping centre than village plaza,” association president Larry Gontovnick said in a communication to Saanich Planning.
He stated that the association “DOES NOT SUPPORT [in capital letters] this project as currently proposed.”
“The relationship of the proposed buildings to the neighbouring properties and to our main street, Cordova Bay Road, is troubling,” he said. “The effect of the built-up underground parking structure along the street is to create a barrier. The Cordova Bay Road frontage should be at grade.”
He listed a series of concerns including “an over-powering presence in contrast to other developments such as Cordova Bay [Beach] Estates and Mattick’s that are set back from the road.” Instead of four storeys that “creates the appearance of [five] storeys” he suggested a maximum of two storeys at the road edge for two of the three buildings “would be more inviting.”
A third building at the corner of Doumac Avenue and Cordova Bay Road is “over-powering” and appears to be elevated above the natural grade.”
The communication lists a number of specific concerns and traffic issues (for example – only one main exit into and out of the property) along with some suggestions.
“Recognizing the site is zoned as C-3, more work is still required to give an appealing, village look with consideration for transition from it to Cordova Bay Road and the neighbouring residential areas,” said Gontovnick.
Victoria architect Alan Lowe has submitted to Saanich an amended Development Permit application for 86 condos, some shops, a bank and a food store of around 17,000 square feet. That compares with the present 7,500 square feet supermarket (which closed in February), five shops, a bank and no residential component. Two of the proposed buildings are four storeys including the supermarket. The present strip mall built in 1960 is single storey.
The application is for an amended Development Permit because a Development Permit was approved by Saanich council in 1999 for 16 condos, shops and a grocery store of around 17,000 square feet. The project never went ahead because of underground gasoline pollution from a nearby lot that had housed a gasoline station. The plaza has the zoning to allow for the proposed development but needs a Development Permit in which “form and character” are considered by Saanich.
The proposed name for the development is “Cordova Bay Village.” The plaza property is owned by Your Family Food Mart. James Gardiner, a realtor and owner of James Gardiner Construction, holds an option to purchase the property subject to Saanich approval of the Development Permit.
HERE is a link to a previous Saanich Voice Online news story that includes links to details of the development proposal.