View Royal council has given the green light to Phase 1 of the Eagle Creek Village development to be built across from Victoria General Hospital.
After months of negotiations and a few changes to the plan, councillors unanimously gave the nod to developer Omicron to go ahead with the commercial and residential development. The approval also means the developer can go ahead with the purchase of the land.
"As a result we'll be breaking ground in mid-September," said Peter Laughlin, project manager. "We're now fully rezoned and looking forward to moving the project forward."
At a council meeting on Tuesday, July 30 final approval was passed for the bylaw amendment and the development permit which allows the project to go ahead. This comes after an environmental assessment and approval from the provincial ministry of transportation and infrastructure.
The property sits on a parcel of land bordered by Watkiss Way and Helmcken Road, and includes the "VIHA Triangle."
"Everybody worked very diligently from both sides, our consultants and from the town's side, and we've met all of our guidelines," Laughlin said.
Coun. John Rogers, chair of the planning and development committee, said the rezoning has been split into two components to get the project moving. For now all that is approved is site clearing and foundation work. The other development permit, which includes form and character of the buildings, will be considered in September, Rogers said.
Staff has enough confidence in the developer to recommend approving the first part of the permit, while waiting from some loose ends to be wrapped up on the rest, Rogers said.
"My understanding is that Omicron has done a fabulous job in lining up all the other businesses. There's been an extraordinary interest, I gather."
Over the course of the process some changes to the plan were brought about, including moving of the residential portion of the project to a new location on the site, in consideration of casting shadows over neighbouring residents. The various heights of the buildings have also seen tweaking and an alley was introduced into the plans to create better pedestrian flow.
While he realizes you can't please everyone, Laughlin believes all involved have done a good job of compromising on contentious points.
"Issues are always a work in progress and we have an excellent design and consulting team in place," Laughlin said. "We'll continue to address anything that comes up."
Planning for Phase 2 of the project will be tackled in the future, likely presenting a whole new set of challenges and hurdles, Laughlin said.
Phase 1 of the development will see the creation of 57 to 60 residential units and space for medical clinics.
Confirmed tenants for the commercial space are Quality Foods, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Cascadia Liquor Store.
Tenants are set to begin setting up in December 2014, with the development planning a spring 2015 opening.