Posted by: Editor | February 5, 2011

Faulty Towers

Faulty Towers

– Mystery surrounds new development proposal for the Esquimalt Royal Canadian Legion site.

By Tim Morrison 

Back in 2008, Esquimalt was a divided community. On one side, supporters of the Esquimalt Royal Canadian Legion were pushing for the tearing down of their aging structure at 622 Admirals Road and replacing it with a brand new legion facility topped and financed by a 17-storey condominium tower that would forever change the landscape of Esquimalt’s humble persona. On the other side, Esquimalt residents rallied the community in opposition in an effort to preserve Esquimalt’s small town appeal.

Suddenly, there was a municipal election and the majority of the victorious candidates shared the view that development should be managed in a manner appropriate for a community of our size. That same year, the world experienced a thunderous economic crash that clobbered the real estate development industry and dried up financing for projects envisioned during much brighter times a mere few months earlier.

The Esquimalt Legion Towers disappeared from the headlines and the project appeared over before it even started. In response to the controversy, Esquimalt’s Council conducted an extensive review of the Township’s Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2009-2010. The Legion’s loyalists advanced a suggestion that the OCP should have no limits on building heights. Council declined that idea, but did opt to increase the number of allowable storeys from ten to twelve. Yet again, Esquimalt Legion felt the sting of rejection and retreated to regroup.

Since then, the Esquimalt Legion has been quite quiet. But, recently, renewed rumours have circulated throughout the community that at the Legion’s Annual General Meeting in January, it was announced that the Legion’s property has been sold to a developer and a proposed new unspecified project would be going before Council imminently.

When contacted by the Esquimalt Review to verify the validity of the rumours, the Legion’s manager Doug Grant insisted that the rumours were false, but would not provide details.

Esquimalt Legions Doug Grant

“Everything that you have stated is not true,” said Grant. “The people of Esquimalt must stay awake at nights thinking these things up. We will be building a new legion and the media will know after it is taken to Council and all plans are approved as per any other development.”

When pressed to confirm the current and future status of the Legion, Grant’s response was blunt.

“No, the Legion has not been sold and will never be sold,” declared Grant. “We presently are working with developers that will provide us a new 5000 square foot legion and at least 23 veteran and senior housing units, which will continue to be owned by the Esquimalt Legion. The remainder of the development will be owned by the developer. That is all that I will explain at this time. It has not been advantageous for us to reveal information to the public in the past and that is all that I am prepared to explain to date.”

So, what exactly is the full extent of this new project? How many storeys is it proposing to build? What will be the impact on the community? When asked those important questions, the Legion chose not to answer. Instead, we are told to wait and see. Fair enough, but whatever ends up being presented to Council will almost certainly be greeted by the Mayor and Councillors with yet the most important question of all: what is the level of community support for this project?

This is a question that the Esquimalt Legion would be wise to think seriously about. Until then, we await their answer. Faulty projects result from faulty public relations. Faultiness is not something Esquimalt residents tolerate.

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Responses

  1. “Faulty projects result from faulty public relations” is a brilliant way of putting it. Just ask Premier Gordon Campbell what the HST lack of communication did for his career? When will Esquimalt’s legion developers ever learn???

  2. Bring it on, i fully support any development that takes this township forward. To bad the auto dealers won”t sell and add there little piece of land to the development proposal.

    • It is a shame when others post the non truth without posting their names. That is un true. We were dealing with the “developers”. We did agree on a purchase price!!! Unfrotunately they were unable to come up with a deposit!!! If people would like to know the truth…..please just ask. We don’t have anything to hide.

  3. Most of the stories I’ve heard on the Legion and the Development came from Doug Grant.
    I have learned over the years to only believe the End Result.
    I havn’t seen any results yet…………….


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