Northern Junk project moving forward on Victoria waterfront

Changes to massing of Wharf Street development convince councillors

The proposed multi-facet development encompassing the existing Northern Junk heritage properties would create residential harbour views as well as create additional commercial space near the Johnson Street bridge.

Mayor Dean Fortin called it a “chance for something spectacular.”

Scaled-down development plans involving the Northern Junk buildings on Wharf Street won a warmer reception from city council last week than a previous version.

Reliance Properties seeks a rezoning and heritage alteration permit to repurpose the two abandoned heritage warehouses near the Johnson Street bridge, and to build a large mixed-use building including 59 units. If approved, the new portion will be located primarily on property now owned by the city. Land-sale negotiations are ongoing.

The company’s revised plan includes one major change: the new building has been split into two smaller ones. The division allows for a view corridor from Wharf Street toward the Inner Harbour.

The project’s public amenities include a plaza and waterfront pathway. The new plan has replaced an elevator down to the pathway with a more accessible route.

“It screams walkability to me,” said Coun. Shellie Gudgeon.

“It will create the much-needed animation.”

“This is potentially a really exciting entranceway to the city,” added Coun. Marianne Alto, qualifying that “Public input is absolutely key.”

On Thursday, council voted to move the proposal to a public hearing.

There are two outstanding budget issues, however.

First, Reliance will likely pay a portion of the harbour pathway’s cost, in exchange for being granted extra density for development.

The added density is valued at $348,000. The pathway, however, will likely cost more than Reliance’s amenity contribution. That means the city will have to pay the remainder.

Second, the developer’s cost to revitalize the two heritage buildings will outweigh their future revenue potential. For this reason, the city will consider measures to support the revitalization, such as a 10-year tax break costing the city a total of $478,000.

Councillors Pam Madoff and Ben Isitt opposed the motion to proceed to public hearing.

Madoff encouraged a more radical revision of the plan that would see a “village of small buildings” on the site. She also felt the heritage buildings were not prominent enough.

Isitt encouraged postponing a decision until the city knows how much it can expect to contribute to the project.

“I feel it is premature,” he said. “We don’t know how much taxpayers will be on the hook.”

A second report detailing this information will come to council before the public hearing.

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Colwood mayor pitches ferry as commuter alternative

Mayor Rob Martin says different modes of transportation need to be considered

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Victoria residents and businesses could see a jump in property taxes

A change in health premium coverage could prompt an increase in taxes for 2019

Bouquet sales support big dreams in Greater Victoria

Country Grocer features holiday bouquets for Help Fill a Dream

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read