The Sandown racetrack has been vacant for years and has been used as a water detention area by the District of North Saanich. The municipality has approved spending $569,000 to allow the developer to complete drainage plans on the land. (File)

Sandown land transfer to North Saanich approved

Building demolition and commercial development expected to start soon

Residents of North Saanich will soon see more development activity at the Sandown property.

The District of North Saanich announced Wednesday that agricultural land improvements and commercial development on the former horse racing track is now able to proceed. This, following registration of the transfer of land from the property owners to the municipality at the B.C. Land Title Office.

This was made possible in recent weeks as owners, the Randall family through its agent, Platform Properties, completed its final land reclamation and drainage plan, as well as met the major requirements set out by the Agricultural Land Commission. The property transfer included a contribution of 12 acres of land from the District, to offset the same amount being subdivided off as commercial space. Those 12 acres of commercial land are located on the east side of the property, closest to McDonald Park Road.

The commercial area already has its first tenant in the works. Canadian Tire has applied to the municipality for a development permit.

The remaining 83 acres will go the District of North Saanich for use as agricultural land. The grandstand and other outbuildings will be demolished by the proponents and the site itself will be cleaned up and better drainage added, to make it suitable for use.

Most recently, the District agreed to pay around $600,000 to mitigate its impact on drainage to the Sandown property.

RELATED: Sandown reclamation plan will cost North Saanich

“This achievement represents a great benefit for the community,” stated Mayor Alice Finall in a media release. “Not only will there be a significant economic benefit from the development of the commercial lands, the agricultural lands will now be improved by the now former owner of the land and will be used for agriculture.”

Reaching this point has taken the community seven years. Finall added the next steps include demolition of the buildings and soil and drainage improvements.

“As the new owner of the agricultural lands Council will be addressing decisions regarding the governance and management of the lands.”

RELATED: What will happen to the Sandown Lands?

North Saanich hired a contractor to conduct community input meetings and tours of the property in the summer of 2015 and has yet to determine how it will manage the land, or what agricultural uses will be in place in the future.

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