Posted by: Editor | April 18, 2011

A New Way for West Bay

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.

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Responses

  1. This is exactly the place that a development should happen to attract more people into Esquimalt and bring in more tax dollars. I can’t believe that Council continues to waylay this development but approves hiving off municipal properties and contemplates “partnering” with a developer putting Esquimalt taxpayers at risk – with little or no consultation. Two open houses with a couple hundred people attending does not merit ‘consulation’ with 17,000 residents. If Council really wants to know what Esquimalt taxpayers want and make the right decisions in an expeditous manner why don’t they conduct referendums using online polling systems? They waste so much time and seem to be making all the wrong decisions.

  2. Please see my comment on Tax bite (below). I think that it is relevant here as well.

    Here is an excerpt from it “We need a plan that not only increases our density, but also ensures that we maintain the best of our quality of life and neighborhoods within Esquimalt. This needs both community and business involvement if we want to be successful.

    Esquimalt has many untapped million dollar views, and aggregated over 20-30 years this could become a billion dollar benefit within our community.

    One example that could bring significant benefit is a redevelopment of Esquimalt WorkPoint in a similar way to the Calgary Garrison, Chilliwack Garrison and Vancouver False Creek redevelopments. This type of development could bring major benefits to greater Victoria including helping to reduce the Colwood crawl for downtown, Navy and dockyard workers, while enhancing our safe, healthy, vibrant community. This is a win-win-win project.”

  3. What this municipality needs is development. Lindhome has done a fantastic job in developing the west bay float homes. (to bad the other two wharf companies can’t do the same) Why in the world would you stop him from continuing on this plan.

    This council has had three years to bring in more development and they haven’t delivered on anything other than panhandle lots and fill in plots. The old municipal lands is a perfect example of their incompetence, it’s been several years and not even a hole in the ground. I heard they put a tender out for deconstruction of the buildings only to pull them back again due to the prices coming back to high.

    Council needs to let developers develop and stop meddling in things they know nothing about. Such as the BC building code vs elevators to square footage (Carlton terrace). And since then what else has come forward to the municipality. It’ll be interesting to see how the council handles the development plans coming for the Cambie Lands and bottle depot.

  4. Untapped million dollar views….I’m not sure this is exactly what a community needs. How sick am I of hearing about million dollar views.Perhaps whoever bullies their way into the front of the line for the million dollar views will be the ones who benefit but this really isn’t going to help anyone else in Esquimalt, particularly the ones living behind the development. Also Mr. Lindholm of course, and any of his minions he is dangling a carrot in front of. Please don’t let’s get fooled into thinking this is providing housing. This is not housing, this is condo living and probably only for investment properties. Would any of these developers consider bringing up their family in such a way? Probably not.I also am a long term resident of Esquimalt. I moved here because Victoria was such a beautiful place embracing it’s heritage. Will the developers not be satisfied until we are a miniature Vancouver! Not to worry for them because they will move onto the next unsuspecting community like a hungry flock of locusts gobbling up all the properties they can get their rapacious hands on. Why don’t we concentrate on making something out of the disastrous commercial properties on Esquimalt Road. They’re already there, and we could make an attractive community along the lines of Oak Bay. Why destroy the beautiful view into downtown Victoria with high buildings when we could concentrate developing an already existing area. Hey, I’m just sayin’.


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