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University of Victoria clears parking hurdle for new Indigenous laws building

Oak Bay approves parking variance for new National Centre for Indigenous Laws
(Black Press Media file photo)

The new National Centre for Indigenous Laws overcame one small hurdle in its expansion at the University of Victoria.

Oak Bay council approved a parking variance for the 2,440-square-metre addition to the Anne and Murray Fraser (Law) Building. The Fraser Building is bordered by Bowker Creek to the west, parking lots to the north, and Ring Road and other university buildings to the south and east. The new National Centre for Indigenous Laws will go up to the south of the Fraser Building, with construction scheduled to finish in 2023.

The development proposal requires a variance to district parking requirements – one space for every two students. With an additional 100 full-time students to be enrolled, the proposed construction would require approximately 50 additional parking spaces. No new vehicle parking stalls are proposed.

RELATED: UVic launches historic Indigenous law program

UVic has 3,682 general and reserved parking spaces, with 939 of them in Oak Bay, according to the staff report presented to council June 14. More than 700 spaces are provided directly north of the proposed works, and a transit stop is located nearby.

Municipal staff reviewed the proposal in context with the official community plan, overall site design and context with the surrounding area before recommending approval of the parking variance.

In response to a question, staff noted that while university students parking on Oak Bay streets is a problem, it is unrelated to the variance request.

RELATED: Law centre at UVic to train generation of Indigenous legal scholars

The National Centre for Indigenous Laws addition is a $27-million project, funded by the province ($13 million), the federal government ($9.1 million) and the Law Foundation of BC ($5 million). It will be home to the world’s first joint degree program in Indigenous legal orders and Canadian common law, which launched at UVic in 2018, and also to the Indigenous Law Research Unit.

The building is designed to reflect and honour the law school’s location and long-standing relationship with the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSANEC nations. The project will use Coast Salish designs, signage, public art and materials such as B.C. wood, cedar weaving and natural light.

Find out more about the Fraser expansion at

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RELATED: Indigenous law being steadily rebuilt in Canada, says UVic prof Val Napoleon

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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