What is the direction of University Heights? That question has emerged after the property’s owner Wesbild has placed the proposed re-development of the site on hold. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

What is the direction of University Heights? That question has emerged after the property’s owner Wesbild has placed the proposed re-development of the site on hold. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich community association postpones meeting about University Heights

Gordon Head Residents’ Association president doesn’t know why University Heights project is on hold

The head of a local community association says she does not know why the plan to re-develop a major Saanich shopping centre is on hold.

“As far as we know the developers are still in discussions with Saanich planning on their most current plans,” said Christine Poirier-Skelton, president of the Gordon Head Residents’ Association. “They are still talking. Sometimes, things take a little time,” she added later.

Poirier-Skelton made these comments after municipal documents started to show that the ambitious project to re-develop University Height is on hold.

Plans submitted earlier call for the construction of 367 residential units and new commercial space totaling 192,000 square feet at the corner of Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue. Renderings show tiered residential units on top of a main commercial building. It is proposed that it would house an expanded version of the Save-On-Foods location that currently operates on site.

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Wesbild Holdings — which purchased the shopping centre in 2015 for a reported figure of $52 million — presented these plans to the public during an open house held in late July, the first of three such proposed. But the company postponed the third and final open house in late 2018. While it promised an open house in early 2019, this event never happened.

With the project now hold, the question of whether the project will even go ahead emerges.

“I cannot comment on that,” said Poirier-Skelton. “I have no idea.”

The community association, meanwhile, has postponed its meeting on the project until the newest plans have been completed, said Poirier-Skelton.

She said she does know when that might happen.

“They [will] get in touch with us,” she said.

Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA), is also unaware of the reasons why the project appears on hold, his only information coming from reporting that has appeared in the media.

No one from Wesbild was immediately available for comment.

A Wesbild spokesperson promised to make a senior figure available for comment Tuesday.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com