Victoria marina takes another step forward

Developers receive provincial approval for water-lot lease

The Victoria International Marina has cleared a major hurdle in its protracted approval process.

After three years waiting, WAM Development Group and Community Marine Concepts have won the provincial water-lot lease to build a luxury-yacht marina along the Songhees waters.

The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource has granted a two-year licence of occupation for the construction of the marina. Once a site survey has ensured the marina meets guidelines, a 45-year lease will be offered.

It’s not a done deal, however.

The federal government has yet to issue a navigable waters permit.

Last year, a larger version of the marina obtained the permit from Transport Canada. The City of Victoria, however, subsequently intervened by downzoning the provincial water lot in response to concerns from paddlers and residents about the size of the proposed 52-slip marina.

The new, smaller-scale marina contains 29 slips, and the change in design triggered a requirement for a new navigable waters permit.

Lachlan MacLean, vice president of WAM Development Group, hopes to receive the permit this summer.

“We’ve got one more round of geotechnical work to do, so that the structural engineers can finalize the foundation design of the buildings on the pilings,” he said. “Probably the first thing people would see would be a barge on site, hopefully sometime this summer, for maybe about a week to do some soil sampling.”

Plans for the marina includes a coffee shop and other commercial space. The city has yet to grant a development permit for the two structures, but the buildings conform to the area’s zoning requirements

Still up in the air are public kayaking amenities.

The developers’ plans for kayak storage were scrapped when the city slashed the marina’s size.

“I”m still keen to incorporate something,” said MacLean. “To date we haven’t figured out the space for how to fit it in. At the least, I’d like to have kayak landing.”

rholmen@vicnews.com