Work has begun to prepare the nine-acre Nigel Valley property in Saanich for redevelopment – many of the trees along Vernon Avenue have been removed and construction crews have taken over the site.
On Feb. 12, more than five years after the initial public consultations, BC Housing confirmed that civil works crews had begun construction of roads and other infrastructure to service the various properties along Nigel Valley – an area bordered by Vernon Avenue, Lochside Trail and Darwin Avenue.
The work is expected to take up to 10 months and will initially service the Greater Victoria Housing Society’s 70-unit affordable rental housing project and Broadmead Care Society’s 88-unit assisted living and affordable rental housing project, explained Tim Chamberlin, senior communications advisor for BC Housing. Both projects were approved by Saanich council in 2020 and are expected to break ground later in 2021.
— Greater Victoria Housing Society (@yyj_housing) February 10, 2021
Nigel Valley will eventually be home to several multi-family residences that will bring nearly 800 new affordable units and commercial spaces to Saanich over the next five to 10 years, he said. The land is owned and operated by a group of non-profit organizations and government agencies that supply housing, residential care services and day programming for seniors, adults with developmental and physical disabilities, folks recovering from mental illness and families.
Public consultations for the redevelopment of Nigel Valley date back to early 2015. Many of the existing Nigel Valley buildings – which include Broadmead Care’s Nigel House, Island Community Mental Health’s Darwin apartments and BC Housing’s wheelchair-accessible Battin Fielding residences – were constructed in the mid-1970s so they were due for repairs and they weren’t meeting the housing and care demands of the region.
On behalf of all the stakeholders, BC Housing took the lead on the project to reimagine Nigel Valley – estimated to cost somewhere around $100 million – and applied to Saanich to rezone the large property.
After several years of planning, in November 2019 council approved the final reading of a zoning bylaw amendment to allow the creation of a new CD-6NV (Comprehensive Development Nigel Valley) zone. This paved the way for the site to be divided and redeveloped to accommodate affordable and supportive housing as well as market housing.
More information about the Nigel Valley redevelopment can be found at bchousing.org.
–With files from Wolfgang Depner and Travis Paterson