History appeared destined to repeat itself Monday night, as the owners of SilverCity at Tillicum Centre plan ask Saanich council for permission for a brighter paint job with new graphics.
But as Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard pointed out, council in 1998 – when the building was still just a proposal – held firm that it didn’t want the movie theatre to be painted in such a way that it sticks out.
“The paint job was one of the key factors of whether it would be approved or not,” Leonard said of the 1998 decision.
It ended up that Saanich and former operator Famous Players agreed to “softer blues and greens and First Nations-inspired murals that exist today,” reads a report from Saanich planning.
The council of the day was concerned about the building not being congruent with the natural environment of the nearby Cuthbert Holmes and Tillicum parks.
“I’m surprised that they’re coming forward again with an application that isn’t consistent with how it was approved in the first place,” Leonard said.
The owner, Riokim Holdings, is proposing a dark and navy blue paint job to the Cineplex Silvercity building. “To animate the facades, lines depicting the partitioning of the sky into meridians and stars expressive of those in the sky as well as on the screen would dot the building,” reads the planning report. The existing raven and orca whale murals would be replaced by First Nations constellations depicting the Bear and the Raven.
Saanich planning supervisor Neil Findlow, in his report, recommends council reject the theatre’s plans.
“The proposed bright colours and graphic designs are a form of signage or corporate branding which is intended primarily to draw attention to the building. This approach does not comply with (Saanich’s) Official Community Plan policies,” he wrote. “It does not respect the location adjacent to a major natural park and within a significant view corridor from (the) Trans-Canada Highway.”
Leonard says it’s rare for applicants to come before council asking for approval, when staff are recommending rejection.
“Usually the applicant goes, ‘Geez, we should rethink this because staff are basing their decisions on council’s policies and precedents, so the likelihood of this succeeding if it’s not consistent with policies and precedents is not very good,'” Leonard said.
The Saanich council meeting is Monday night, 7:30 p.m. at 770 Vernon Ave.