Esquimalt mulls English Inn’s future

The proposal seeks to have the Lampson Street hotel building designated as heritage and allow for residential development

A proposal to rezone the two-hectare property containing the English Inn and several dormant buildings will be heard at a public hearing next month in Esquimalt.

The proposal seeks to have the Lampson Street hotel building designated as heritage, create a buffer zone around it to protect the gardens and trees, and allow for significant residential development on the remaining 1.3 hectares.

Esquimalt council heard another presentation Monday from ownership group LFC Lampson Holdings Inc., but needed little discussion before voting to move the proposal forward.

The plan requires changes to zoning to separate the land parcels and allow for different uses, as well as alteration of the official community plan.

LFC Lampson Holdings Inc. includes former creditors of the previous owners and is looking to create some certainty for potential buyers.

On Monday night, council heard that the property has lost LFC $1.5 million over the past three years.

“They’re trying to rationalize the use of the land for the future that makes economic sense,” LFC spokesperson Mike Dillistone said in an interview.

The requested changes would create “precedent setting guidelines” in terms of the grounds, he added.

Mayor Barb Desjardins said the lack of council debate seems to indicate general support for the idea.

The public hearing may happen as early as Oct. 21.

n In other council news, Esquimalt council approved reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h along the entire length of Rockheights Avenue, from Lampson Street to Old Esquimalt Road.

The move was made in response to concerns from Rockheights residents about safety and increased traffic on their street. Signage is on order and is expected to be installed sometime in the next several weeks. Victoria police also committed to keep more of an eye on driver speeds on Rockheights.