This artistic rendering of the future Edmonton Velodrome appears in the report that the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association has submitted as part of the group’s proposal for a velodrome in Saanich. (Image created by HCMA/DUB in association with Faulknerbrowns/Submitted)

This artistic rendering of the future Edmonton Velodrome appears in the report that the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association has submitted as part of the group’s proposal for a velodrome in Saanich. (Image created by HCMA/DUB in association with Faulknerbrowns/Submitted)

Saanich councillor wants answers on cost, location of proposed velodrome

Velodrome proposal says future seismic upgrade ‘may detract from potential needed public funds’

A “number of unknowns” need answers before Saanich can truly consider the proposal for a velodrome near Uptown.

So says Coun. Ned Taylor, chair of the municipality’s parks, trails and recreation advisory committee, after hearing plans from the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association for a facility near Uptown.

RELATED: Saanich committee to hear plans for velodrome project in excess of $96 million

“It was a really interesting proposal,” said Taylor, adding that the region does not necessarily have the facilities to support the demand for that kind of cycling. “However, there’s still a number of unknowns, such as cost and location,” he said. “This is critical information that we have to have before we can truly consider this proposal.”

Taylor made these comments Monday after the committee met last Thursday evening. Saanich’s planning, transportation and economic development advisory committee had heard plans earlier. Coun. Zac de Vries said later that the committee supports “in principle” the proposal, which would be a signature facility for the region and address many of its economic, social and ecological goals, according to the group proposing it.

RELATED: Velodrome proposal has support in ‘principle’ from Saanich committee

The submitted plans provide some, but hardly conclusive answers to the questions that Taylor identifies. A detailed break-down of the proposal at the group’s preferred location, near Uptown at the confluence of the Lochside and Galloping Goose regional trails, pegs its cost at $96.8 million.

That same part of the proposal also includes cost figures for two alternate sites of $83.2 million and $76.2 million. Finally, the report includes a line stating that the “[estimated] gross project for this complete would range [around] $90-$120 [million dollars]” without ever explaining how the report reaches that figure.

RELATED: Multiple Saanich sites considered for velodrome proposal

In fact, the section of report outlining cost estimates appears full of asterisks and provisos. For example, the report states that the land cost at the preferred location [estimated at around $20 million] depends on the “availability of property held by [provincial authorities] to be “transferred in-kind” if the proposed transit hub near Uptown becomes part of the proposed velodrome.

Noting that “cost mitigation will be critical,” the report notes the region is “undergoing a major construction boom, which inevitably will influence the budget and timelines.”

Finally, under the heading of ‘certain preliminary considerations’, the report expresses fears that the project might lose out to future seismic upgrades for public buildings including schools.

“A new provincial government will likely proceed with further seismic upgrades of schools and other public buildings that will require funding and therefore may detract from potential needed public funds,” it reads.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com