The former St. Andrew’s School on Pandora Avenue is being torn down to make way for the construction of a new $70-million development

Demolition of former school underway for new Pandora Avenue development

The former St. Andrew's School on Pandora Avenue is in the midst of being torn down in order to make way for a new $70-million development.

The former St. Andrew’s School on Pandora Avenue is in the midst of being torn down in order to make way for the construction of a new $70-million development.

The development, bordered by Pandora Avenue, Mason and Vancouver streets, was put forward by a division of Bosa Properties in 2013, but has undergone a number of changes since then after immense public backlash to the height of the building, concern with traffic volumes, the tower overshadowing the Mason Street Farm and lack of green space.

The 200,000-square-foot building now includes 209 rental units amongst two buildings — one six storeys and the other four. There will also be a large ground-floor commercial space that could include an urban grocer, bank, smaller retail stores, as well as 11 affordable rental units. Construction should be completed by February 2019.

Last August, more than 600 signatures were collected from residents of the North Park neighbourhood as part of a petition against the development. Residents were concerned the shopping would bring more traffic into the neighbourhood, creating congestion, and the tower would overshadow the neighbouring Mason Street Farm — a significant provider of food for local restaurants. Some also weren’t happy with the lack of green space and the way the developer approached the community.

“The developer came in and told us this is the way it’s going to be. There wasn’t any dialogue,” said resident Charles Joerin, who felt a bit better once he heard the developer was making some adjustments to the project.

In the end, the petition garnered 1,200 signatures and more than 100 residents attended the two public hearings — the first in August and the second in October.

Approving the development was one of the most difficult decisions Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has made during her four years on council. She voted in favour because of the balance of amenities it added to the community, noting the development is on par with the North Park Neighbourhood Association’s community plan drafted for the area in 1996.

“What we’re seeing now come forward 20 years later after an official community plan process, where that didn’t get changed. We’re seeing something that has much less height and density that could be there come in,” Helps said at the time the development was approved.

A year later, Jenny Farkas, president of the North Park Neighbourhood Association, said residents still have some lingering concerns when it comes to what businesses the development will house and how it will impact businesses already in the community. In the spirit of good neighbourhods, however, residents are learning to embrace the development.

“It’s going to be in our neighbourhood for a long time. The decision has been made and we want to be good neighbours with the people that live there and the businesses and the developer,” said Farkas, noting residents have had good communication with the developer, but they just don’t have the same vision.

“I hope that will continue and they are open to having conversations with us and help problem solve.”

 

 

Just Posted

Ginormous 10-foot dragon towers over Saanich yard

Artist Dan Iochelli spent seven years crafting the metal beast

Return of the undead: Victoria Zombie Walk hits the streets

Hundreds of zombies expected for annual event Oct. 26 in Centennial Square

Popular corn maze at North Saanich’s Pendray Farms out of operation

No Halloween-themed activities taking place this year at local farm

Access: A day in the life using a wheelchair in Victoria

Black Press Media teamed up with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre to learn about barriers

Popular food truck to open restaurant on Oak Bay Avenue

Dead Beetz Burgers adds brick-and-mortar restaurant

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read