The City of Victoria received a $1 million cheque from a local developer, making it the largest single contribution to the city’s Housing Reserve Fund.
On Wednesday, Donald Milliken strode into City Hall to present Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps a $1 million cheque.
Milliken is responsible for an upcoming private senior’s residence for people with Alzheimer’s disease planned for 1900-1912 Richmond Rd., which is currently the site of a medical office building.
Plans for the building went through in the spring, but Helps said acceptance of the plan was not reliant on the cash donation.
“It was a voluntary contribution, not a contribution in exchange for a density variance,” she said. “I think it probably helped with the approvals, but it wasn’t required… this would help make the proposal more palatable.”
Today the City received a $1 million contribution from Milliken Developments towards the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund to help fund affordable housing for seniors. For more info about the Fund: https://t.co/5XvN8BaWd5 pic.twitter.com/s59TR5V4eX— City of Victoria (@CityOfVictoria) December 5, 2019
Without the donation, she said, the project would have still been approved.
For some development sites, required legislation such as lifts or incentives for density variances outside of the Official Community Plan (OCP), can require a developer to make a cash-in-lieu contribution.
Such a case is the case with Aryze Developments for its mass timber project at 607-629 Speed Ave., where a land lift is required. Aryze will also write the city a cheque for $1 million.
Milliken has faced some hiccups with the Richmond Road development. In April it came forward that a false endorsement from the Victoria Hospitals Foundation was accidentally inserted into its application package; in the same month it received public push back after it gave long-term tenants, such as the Victoria Heart Institute Foundation, three-weeks’ notice to leave the building.
Helps said she’d been unaware of these incidences, and said she feels the company is a family corporation that cares about the community.
“This is a significant contribution, and with it we can create up to 100 homes,” she said.
Black Press Media reached out to Milliken Development about the donation, but did not hear back by time of printing.