The CRD’s Hospitals and Housing Committee heard different proposed uses for the land at 950 Kings Rd. (Google Maps)

CRD hears proposal for 200-unit complex at contentious Hillside-Quadra property

Residents beg CRD to sell the former Blanshard Elementary site to the City of Victoria

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Hospitals and Housing Committee heard dozens of Hillside-Quadra residents ask for the sale of 950 Kings Rd. to the City of Victoria on Wednesday to accommodate community needs.

It also heard from CRD staff about a proposed mixed-used complex for the site, which would see 150 residential units and 50 assisted-living units for people living with mental health disorders.

The site of the former Blanshard Elementary school currently acts as a community space for Victoria’s lowest-income neighbourhood. It hosts cultural events and sports programs, spillover space for the Quadra Village Community Centre, and the Vancouver Island School of Art, all with a lease agreements until 2021.

The CRD purchased the land from the Greater Victoria School District in 2015, with aims of using it for hospital purposes due to its proper zoning and central location. A proposal for the 200-unit complex was brought forward for information on Wednesday, but faced public backlash due to concerns about the loss of greenspace, the increase in traffic and the neighbourhood’s seemingly unfair share of housing and hospital resources.

An early schematic presented at a CRD Hospitals and Housing Committee meeting shows a proposed residential and assisted living complex at 950 Kings Rd. (Screenshot/ CRD)

“We need things that will help build a healthy neighbourhood and take the pressure off of the concentration of developments we already have,” said Kelly Greenwell, executive director of the Quadra Village Community Centre (QVCC).

The Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood has the city’s highest concentration of subsidized housing developments, and recently became the home of a new care facility for seniors with dementia. The Summit is a 320-unit complex adjacent to 950 Kings Rd. It is set to open shortly.

ALSO READ: Neighbourhood associations want to explore options for Victoria’s former Blanshard Elementary site

“It’s time to share the burden,” Greenwell said. “These regional service are really important… But we’re basically tolerating that other neighbourhoods don’t want to take on these projects.”

The Summit is replacing services offered at both the Oak Bay Lodge and the Mount Tolmie Hospital.

CRD Housing and Hospitals Director Ben Isitt called to question whether other locations could be explored for these hospital uses, or if more public consultation could be incorporated into the design.

“It would be good for CRD to talk to the City of Victoria. Engaging the neighbourhood is essential,” Isitt said. “The current vision of the project may be fatally flawed due to a lack of engagement from the neighbourhood.”

View Royal Mayor David Screech, who also sits as a director on the committee, questioned Isitt’s views as being skewed from his other role as a Victoria City Councillor.

“If Victoria wants to make the offer to the buy the land maybe they could do so,” Screech said. “This property is zoned for what is being proposed and the Housing and Hospitals Committee is the landowner, so the landowner does have some legal rights. Yes there needs to be discussion, but we also have to respect that it was zoned and bought for hospital purposes.”

VIDEO: Hillside-Quadra residents rally for new community space

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who chairs the committee, concluded that alternative options need to be looked at.

“It’s time for Victoria and the CRD to find a way to work together on this… the drawing is beautiful, but completely unrealistic to only see a one-storey building there. Maybe there could be a community centre on top of that,” Helps said. “We will be able to find a way forward that balances everyone’s needs that has greenspace, mental health [services] and underground parking, but it’s going to take some hard work.”

Helps also said she could guarantee the land parcel would not remain looking as it currently does.

The committee accepted the proposed report for consideration, without making any final decisions.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

CommunityCRDdevelopment

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

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read