A New Way for West Bay
-Major Development Proposed for West Bay
By Tim Morrison
Ever since an economic slump rocked the world back in 2008, the local real estate development industry hasn’t seen much in the way of new projects. For Esquimalt, promising developments such as the Skyline Condominiums planned for Carlton Terrace off Esquimalt Road have been proposed and even approved, but securing financing to get the projects off the ground is a different story. Meanwhile, Esquimalt’s residential property tax rates continue to increase and the reason often cited by Council is that there is not enough new development bringing new revenue into the municipality.
Suddenly, there is revived talk of a large-scale development that will forever transform Esquimalt’s West Bay neighbourhood and certainly provide generous revenue for Esquimalt’s coffers. Like a sea captain on a spirited quest for the proverbial white whale, Mark Lindholm, Development Manager of Westbay Marine Village, is determined to realize his dream. Plans have been afoot for decades.
Lindholm, a longtime resident and investor in the area, unveiled his vision last week to Council. Two parcels of land at the end of Head Street are slated to become home to a 10-storey, 70-unit residential condominium, a retail commercial building, along with a further six-storey mix of 48 condo units, 48 hotel suites and a restaurant overlooking Hidden Harbour at West Bay Marina. The plan also includes additional commercial space along the waterfront while maintaining the adjacent West Bay Marina and RV Park.
Lindholm’s first step was a step back. He had requested that the south end of Head Street be permanently closed off along with a land swap with the municipality that would allow the overall project to be better connected. Local residents were not comfortable with that aspect and Council opted to turn down Lindholm’s request, citing traffic congestion concerns.
Nevertheless, Council appeared cautiously warm upon their first glimpse at the proposal, but remained resolute that the local neighbourhood be fully consulted before any project would ever be finally approved.
Will this project actually happen or will the elusive white whale continue to tease? Well, Council plans to take its time, ensure the final project is a good fit for the neighbourhood, and that the entire municipality will benefit. That’s the right plan of action. As a community, we are not afraid of development. We just want to ensure it is done right.