Wesbild says it remains committed to the redevelopment of University Heights, but the public cannot expect to see the revised plans until the fall. (Black Press File).

Company commits to redeveloping Saanich’s University Heights

Wesbuild plans to submit revised proposal for shopping complex in the fall

The proposed redevelopment of University Heights will go ahead with a revised plan, but the public will likely have to wait months to see the plan itself.

Wesbild, the property’s owner, has publicly announced that it will redevelop the hub.

“After significant public consultation, and working closely with the District of Saanich, we remain committed to University Heights and are currently working to refine our revitalization plan,” the company said in a statement on the project site. “Please register to receive updates as the project evolves and continues to take shape.”

But if the company has signalled its commitment to the project, its eventual shape will not emerge for some time.

Jen Derbyshire, Wesbild’s director of marketing and community relations, said Tuesday that the company plans to submit its revised proposal in the fall followed by what she called “extensive” community consultations.

The broad strokes of the project remain, mixing commercial usage with rental residential, said Derbyshire. “But it will be different.”

To emphasize this point, Wesbild has scrubbed its project website of previous renderings in suggesting that its new proposal will perhaps be less ambitious. The site instead features more generic imaginary. Previous renderings showed an elegant, even upscale, complex, that would dominate the area if completed.

RELATED: Documents show re-development of Saanich’s University Heights on hold

RELATED: Odds of re-developing Saanich’s University Heights ‘60-40’

The proposed re-development of the shopping complex is perhaps the signature element of broader plans to densify the corridor along Shelbourne Street. Questions about the status of the project emerged in April when public documents described the application as being “on hold” without giving any additional information about the rationale.

When later asked about the likelihood of the project going forward, Steve Forrest, Wesbild’s senior vice-president, said he would give it odds of 60-40 in favour of going ahead, adding that he would have given the project the same odds before the current review.

Forrest said at the time his company is currently “tweaking the development to make it financially viable” after receiving input from the municipality and the public at large. Proposed changes include shrinking the commercial share of the project, lowering its maximum height to six storeys from eight, and making all units available for rental.

Derbyshire said that not much has changed since then.

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said the municipality has not received an updated application from the developer. “Planning will be happy to review once they receive it,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria gets new collegiate baseball team, training facility

Golden Tide coach wants to see as many local kids play for the HarbourCats as possible

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read