(File Photo)

A Vancouver Island-based Walmart employee has confirmed plans for a new Walmart Supercentre to be built in the space previously occupied by Sears at Hillside Shopping Centre.

The source, who has requested to remain anonymous, informed Victoria Buzz that they were relayed this information during a staff meeting in late 2019.

See also: Sears Canada to liquidate all remaining stores

The employee clarified that the company plans to focus on renovations on their Langford location, before setting their sights on Hillside Centre.

This will be Victoria’s third Walmart – the first two located in Uptown Shopping Centre and Langford. The vacant space left by Sears upon its closure in 2017 sits at 150,000 square fit – the same size as the Canadian Tire outlet at Hillside mall.

On January 10th, Saanich councillor, Zac De Vries, came out on Twitter to express his grievances towards the project, saying that it is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to land use.

Councillor De Vries, who studied geography and urban health development at the University of Victoria, followed up his original tweet with another, saying that the plan resulted from “auto-centered land use” and that it would “diverge from [Saanich’s] climate targets.”

He also called big box retailers an “economic depressant” in the long term. De Vries stands by his statement: “to address climate change and build sustainable communities we need better land-use planning.”

Several Saanich and Victoria residents came to his side, citing the need for childcare, mental health, and other public service centres instead of another Walmart.

Others were more critical of his stance, arguing that families in the area need a low-cost superstore like Walmart.

According to Hillside Centre’s leasing agency, Walmart has an eye on fall 2021 for the opening of the new location.