City can’t renege on offer of public land

Victoria city council can’t reconsider its offer to include public land in the redevelopment of the Northern Junk heritage building.

Details of the in-camera decision, made two years ago, came to light after Coun. Lisa Helps put forward a motion to rise and report on the information.

On Jan. 14, 2010, Coun. Philippe Lucas moved that council grant permission for the developer, Reliance Properties, to submit a rezoning application for the city-owned land on Wharf Street, surrounding the Northern Junk. The offer recognizes “that this would not fetter their discretion on considering the rezoning.”

On Dec. 15, 2011, Reliance presented a five-storey, mixed use proposal that won both praise and criticism from council.

At the time, new Coun. Ben Isitt argued the offer of public land should be reconsidered.

It’s a moot point.

“Council has allowed a rezoning to go ahead on that land,” said Coun. Pam Madoff, “But the outcome, in terms of the product that is delivered – we still have full discretion on that.”

The proposal will be discussed at a governance and priorities meeting tomorrow (Jan. 26). New drawings will present the proposal in context of the new Johnson Street Bridge.

Last week, the Hallmark Heritage Society announced its opposition to the project.

In a letter to the News, president Ken Johnson wrote the society “is deeply concerned at plans to surround the City’s oldest waterfront buildings, the Gold Rush Warehouses, with a five-storey monolith, virtually hiding them from view.”



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