City, church meet to hammer out deal on Cathedral School

Anglican diocese and the city have been at odds since the diocese applied for a demolition permit of the building

The Anglican Diocese and the City of Victoria are one step closer to reaching an agreement on the Cathedral School on Niagara Street.

The diocese and the city have been at odds since the diocese applied for a demolition permit of the building at 520 Niagara St. The school is on the city’s heritage registry, but it is not legally protected as a heritage site.

On July 24, the City of Victoria ordered that the site be subject to temporary protection for 60 days, which ended on Sept. 22.

Protection of the building has been extended for another 30 days, ending late October. During that time, the diocese and the city are negotiating the potential for a rezoning application of the property, which the diocese still plans to sell.

“The intent is to protect the existing structure in a new zoning category, which would identify what development potential there is on the site around the building,” said Victoria Coun. Pamela Madoff.

“The notion would be that it would be sold with a new zone in place so that a subsequent owner would be required to keep the existing building.”

Peter Daniel, asset manager for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, said the diocese has made a commitment to the city that it would not tear down the building for one year, and that any proceeds from the sale of the property will go toward seismic upgrades on the Christ Church Cathedral precinct property. He added that the property will be sold whether it is rezoned first or not.

“If somebody in the future wants to demolish, they’ll have to apply for a permit,” Daniel said.

For now, Daniel said the pre-school and day care currently located in the Cathedral School building will be moved to a different location due to safety concerns.

Madoff is optimistic about the future of the building due to the negotiations taking place between the city and the diocese.

“This is a very good example of what happens when the city and a property owner work together,” Madoff said.

No decisions regarding rezoning of the Niagara Street property have been made yet.

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