Contrary to what some tenants of the nearby Mayfair Centre are concerned with, the arrival of a mysterious container on the vacant lot and former bowling alley site across Tolmie Avenue does not indicate a future modular home development.
That’s according to the public relations department of Loblaw, which owns the property at 760 Tolmie Ave. and was approved for a development permit on the site over a decade ago.
“The plans for the site have yet to be finalized, however, in the meantime the site will possibly be used for temporary storage,” the company wrote in an email to Black Press Media. “We would like to assure the community that there is no modular housing complex planned for this site at this time.”
An inquiry with the District of Saanich found that no new permits have been issued or applied for relating to the property, which was originally intended as a site for a new Real Canadian Superstore location, a development currently listed on saanich.ca as being on hold. The last time the file was updated by the municipality was March 2010.
Black Press Media had received a call from a concerned merchant in the mall asking whether the site was being proposed for more transitional or supportive housing, as the structures on the lot resemble the modular homes installed near Royal Athletic Park in Victoria and stacked in a development on Albina Street in Saanich.
Back in 2018, the property was suggested by political candidates as a possible site to build modular homes to address the housing crisis.
The 13,670 square-metre lot has otherwise remained empty since Loblaw, which purchased the property in 2005, tore down the Mayfair Lanes bowling alley in 2006. Part of the issue with the intended development moving forward, according to Coun. Judy Brownoff, was the presence of an underground water course and the effect that would have on construction of an underground parkade.
The property is part of the Uptown-Douglas area in Saanich, which is being targeted for significant growth and change, including the potential for expanded housing and employment initiatives.
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