A massive new housing project will be erected on the site of one of Victoria’s most iconic former White Spot locations.
City Councillors Dave Thompson and Matt Dell gave the project the final push it needed to be approved by city council in which he and city staff made sure the three-tower complex proposed for the vacant corner of Douglas Street and Caledonia Avenue would serve the people of Victoria properly.
The 540-unit building will include 133-units of affordable housing that will be operated by a non-profit organization, at least 171 units will remain as rental dwellings in perpetuity and 30-units will have to be deemed properly accessible to serve people with limited mobility.
In addition to this, 127-units will be two-bedroom suites and 37 must be three-bedroom suites. The complex will also feature a daycare, a vast amount of retail space and a bike repair area.
Chard Developments President and CEO, Byron Chard was in attendance and presented the three unique building complex with a shared podium. He spoke to the relationship his company created with BC Housing in order to put forth the mutually beneficial proposal for the endeavour.
“The proposed development has been in the works since the summer of 2021,” said Chard. “To date, there have been extensive community consultations including public and private neighbours, community associations, consultations with staff and before the Comittee of the Whole two times.”
“I’m excited to finally reach this important milestone this evening,” he added.
There is a fourth BC Housing building that has to be built first to house people who are being displaced. Once this is done in approximately 22 months, the construction on the three-building complex can begin.
The timeline for this project is projected to be 40 months in total and it will be a phased opening.
Councillor Thompson said that the application made by Chard is the best and most extensive he’s seen, noting that this is exactly the kind of development the city needs exactly where they need it.
“The most important thing that cities can do, the strongest allever we have over greenhouse gas emissions and climate action is to direct growth to where it should be,” said Councillor Thompson.
“We don’t want it, frankly, in sprawling subdivisions, we don’t want to be mowing down forests, we don’t want to be paving over agricultural land — we want it in places that are already being occupied, near transit, near active transportation corridors, in complete walkable, 15-minute communities and this checks all those boxes.”
Councillor Dell echoed all of Thompson’s sentiments and added he was happy to see this moving forward after years of proposals and red tape Chard has had to navigate.
Very happy that Council approved this incredible 540-unit mixed use development on Caledonia/Douglas. This project includes TWO BC Housing buildings, and a massive spectrum of affordable housing. Grocery store, daycare, office and more. This is the model! #yyj pic.twitter.com/Yeb21lgqnw
— Matt Dell (@mattdellok) June 30, 2023
“I’m glad to see that the project is still alive and came forward to us at this stage,” said Dell. “There’s so much to say, I think this is just a really excellent model for what I’d like to see in the city moving forward with this type of diversity of housing.”
“[Chard and BC Housing] have gone above and beyond to make this happen and that’s definitely noticed and I hope other people can kind of follow along and just see that that effort is worth it to create these mixed communities even though they’re a bit more challenging — they’re better for the city in the long run.”
The third and final reading of the proposed building was unanimously voted through by council and Mayor Marianne Alto gave her congratulations to Chard for all the work that went into making this arduous process come to a celebratory end.