An artist's rendering of the proposed 332-stall parkade the University of Victoria hopes to build

Saanich council approves UVic’s parkade

332-stall, 5-level parking garage gets approval after University of Victoria conducts better public consultation

By tabling a massive, seven-storey parkade last October, Saanich council sent the University of Victoria a strong message about proper public consultation.

And the message was heard loud and clear, as evidenced by a near lack of criticism of the smaller, less invasive parkade at Monday night’s council meeting.

While residents’ concerns about height, location and expected traffic impacts led to a six-hour council meeting in October 2011, the greatest criticism about the new design surrounded the potential light pollution the project may let off.

“It’s hard to complain about a process that’s so complete, comprehensive and provided so many opportunities to engage,” said Coun. Nichola Wade, paraphrasing one speaker. “I take my hat off to UVic for raising the (public consultation) bar.”

Council unanimously approved the university’s development variance permit for height and parking at Monday’s meeting.

“I wanted to give this my support a year ago; I think this is a fabulous facility,” said Coun. Susan Brice, talking about the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) that the parkade will be attached to.

She added, however, that the new parking garage is much better than what was previously proposed, and credits a thorough consultation process.

“Consultation can’t occur if there’s only one party. There has to be input from the community that has to be heard, and there has to be a reaction; it’s very much a back and forth process. So to everyone who was involved, I say thank you,” Brice said.

A more thorough consultation process that spanned this winter and spring, conducted by H.B. Lanarc, resulted in UVic submitting a parkade design to Saanich that looks drastically different than anything council had seen before.

While the initial parking garage was planned to be 503 stalls over seven levels, the new plan proposes 332 stalls over five levels, one of which will be buried.

Eleven individuals total spoke to council, the majority of whom spoke in favour of the project, namely the CARSA side of things. CARSA will be a 17,685 square-metre complex including a 2,100-seat gym, a four-court field house, an elevated running track and climbing centre.

“We’re pleased with the outcome, obviously, and we’re looking forward now to getting tenders out and getting them out to process so we can look to construction,” said Kristi Simpson, the university’s associate vice-president responsible for campus planning.

Barbara Raponi, with the Cadboro Bay Residents Association, said her community association (as did the neighbouring Mount Tolmie and Gordon Head residents associations) supported the new plan, but outlined concerns about making the consultation process more transparent.

“It’s our view the current proposal represents a compromise between UVic’s original design and the views of Cadboro Bay residents,” she said.”While the consultation process had some good aspects, we felt it was somewhat top-down.”

One neighbour spoke about her concerns regarding white light pollution (“I hope there’ll be full consultation to install only full cut-off fixtures everywhere for the sake of maximums safety, minimum light spills … and for the esthetic appearance) and water-impervious surface materials used on the project (“Will they be porous?”).

Coun. Dean Murdock excused himself prior to the meeting, as he has a connection to the school that could be seen as a conflict of interest. Mayor Frank Leonard, who also could be seen as having a conflict of interest, and Coun. Leif Wergeland were both absent from the meeting.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read