For 83 years, the corner of Gorge and Admirals roads has been home to the historic Brookman’s Grocery (formerly the Craigflower Bridge Store) and Saanich Auto Repair (formerly Brookman’s Garage).
But for the second time in under a decade, Saanich council is being asked to consider a significant redevelopment of that corner, this time to make way for a four-storey, 144-unit seniors care home.
Council on Monday was expected to hear from the property owners, Saanich Senior Living Inc., about their plans to for an independent living facility, along with a care facility for seniors with memory loss.
In his report to council, Jarret Matanowitsch, Saanich’s manager of current planning, noted the property is “outdated” and suggested council approve the redevelopment, given the positive impact it could have.
“The scale and density of the proposed facility reflect the economic challenges of providing relatively affordable serviced accommodations for seniors,” he wrote. “It would expand the range of housing choice available in the neighbourhood (and) address the demand for residential accommodation to house an aging population.”
In 2006, council denied partial rezoning of the property to build a 46-unit apartment building based on community concerns about density and potential traffic impacts, among other reasons.
Opposition to redeveloping this corner persists. A letter to council from neighbour Robin Hume states that corner is not a good location for such a large facility, given the height of the building, existing character of the neighbourhood and a lack of nearby shopping amenities for the mobile-challenged seniors who would live there.
Rob Wickson, in a letter on behalf of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, supported the project, noting a statistically higher number of seniors live in the community and that “this proposal is a vast improvement over previous attempts to develop this site.”
The site in question also currently houses a small apartment and commercial building, and a 23-room motel. The owners have plans to relocate Brookman’s Grocery elsewhere on the site and convert it to a small retail or coffee shop.
Saanich council will be discussing the request at tonight’s (Monday’s) meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Saanich municipal hall.