In front of the Village Walk building at 1969 Oak Bay Ave. is a section of a demarcated bike lane about 50-feet long between Foul Bay Road and Amphion Street.
It’s the only designated bike lane on Oak Bay Avenue.
For three years Roy Brooke would pull off the bike lane and park his bike in the bike rack in front of Village Walk. Brooke has frequented the Good Earth Coffeehouse on the ground floor of Village Walk, alone or with his family, since it opened in 2015, and almost always by bike.
Bike racks removed at Village Walk on Oak Bay Ave, apparently by strata council. Hopefully returned soon as this is crappy for #yyj #cyclists. @GVCC @CityOfVictoria @lisahelps pic.twitter.com/UhWiJar3Sq
— Roy Brooke (@RBrooke) September 11, 2018
Last year he arrived to find that visitor bike rack, which parks 14 bikes, was gone. He contacted the City of Victoria bylaw and says he was told that it would be replaced, but after a year, he wonders where it is.
“Imagine if you took away 14 car parking spots from Village Walk,” Brooke said. “People would go ballistic.”
It’s as if the minute you ride a bike you are less important than a driver, he added.
In its zoning bylaw, the City of Victoria requires a minimum of six short term bicycle parking spaces for a multiple unit condo (or, if greater, one per 0.1 spaces per unit). Village Walk’s strata did not respond to an invitation to speak to the Oak Bay News. The owner of Good Earth did not wish to speak but did confirm the coffee shop is frequented by cyclists.
Abstract Developments built Village Walk for 2015 and sold 22 condominium units while retaining five commercial spaces on the ground floor. The 14-spot bike rack was one of its common amenities. Abstract’s Bowker development at the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Bowker Avenue will have 77 secured bike parking spaces within the building and 13 visitor spaces for residential and commercial visitors.
@CityofVictoria has been working for nearly a year with strata @ busy 1960 Oak Bay to put in 14 #bike spots required by development permit; longer than we’d expect if this many car spots were missing. Hopefully solution is in sight so people can get around easily by all means. pic.twitter.com/vpBC4NN1Sv
— Roy Brooke (@RBrooke) August 21, 2019
The Village Walk bike rack was part of Abstract’s vision and in a strata vote last year, Abstract used its five votes to keep the racks but lost the vote to the strata majority.
“Some owners felt, depending on the way that bikes were placed in them, that the experience of entering the building was compromised,” said Abstract spokesperson Brandon Williams.
The City of Victoria said the developers and strata have indicated they will comply but that there is no development plan submitted to install a new bike rack or re-install the removed bike rack.
“Only if they refused to replace them as part of the development plan, would the [bylaw] take action,” said city spokesperson Ryan Shotton.