Planning is one of the most important functions of the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA). In the past, the planning committee has dealt with issues such as Streetscape on Cordova Bay Road, how to present an issue to Council, Haliburton Organic Farm and numerous rezoning applications and subdivision plans.
Currently, our planning group is focused on in-fill development issues. As the larger areas of land in Cordova Bay are disappearing, smaller acre-sized properties are seeking rezoning for in-fill housing. If you feel strongly about the growth and character of Cordova Bay, then you are urged to consider becoming an active CBA member of this committee.
SEE THE SITE PLANS FOR ALL ACTIVE PLANNING APPLICATIONS POSTED ON THE SAANICH WEBSITE:
Cordova Bay Active Planning Applications – District of Saanich.
The Cordova Bay Streetscape Action Plan that was created to improve the Marine Scenic Drive through Cordova Bay can be found here.
CORDOVA BAY LOCAL AREA PLAN
To check the official Saanich zoning for any property in Saanich:
1. Go to the Saanich GIS map service web page – http://www.saanich.ca/services/gis/index.html.
2. Click on ‘Launch Map Viewer’, then ‘Continue’ (under “I have read & agreed…”).
3. Click on ‘Find Address’ and fill in the Saanich address.
4. Click on ‘Green Box’ under ‘Land’.
To check the Bylaws for any zoning in Saanich:
1. Go to the Saanich ‘Living In Saanich, Saanich Bylaws and Policies’ web page – http://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/local-government/bylaws.html.
2. Scroll almost to the bottom of the page to ‘8200’ ‘Zoning Bylaws’.
3. Click on ‘Zoning Bylaws’, which is a pdf document.
SAANICH OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN
Please click here for the Saanich Official Community Plan. The link is http://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/community/community-planning/official-community-plan-ocp.html
April 2, 2017, Email sent to Saanich Planning re: Referral on Plaza Re-Development
Subject: CBA Response to Saanich Referral For DPA00900, 5120 and 5144 Cordova Bay Road
Date: 2017-04-02 14:34
From: “Larry Gontovnick (email@example.com)”
Dear Saanich Planning:
The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA) DOES NOT SUPPORT this project as currently proposed. We have the following concerns with the proposed development:
FORM AND CHARACTER CONCERNS
(key guidelines from Saanich Planning include massing and scale that is compatible with adjacent development, and village-like character)
* The relationship of the proposed buildings to the neighbouring properties and to our main street, Cordova Bay Road, is troubling. The effect of the built-up underground parking structure along the street is to create a barrier. The Cordova Bay Road frontage should be at grade.
* Massing at Cordova Bay Road at  four storeys and the build-up of soil on Building #1 from existing grades gives an overpowering presence in contrast to other developments such as Cordova Bay Estates and Matticks that are set back from the road. This grade increase creates the appearance of  storeys. A maximum of 2 storeys at the road edge for both Buildings #1 and #3 would be more inviting.
* Massing at Building #3 is over powering at the corner of Doumac and Cordova Bay and would be more in scale at a total maximum of  three storeys. It too appears to be elevated above the natural grade.
* Building #3 has garage parking that backs out into exiting traffic raising safety concerns.
* The south wall of Building #1 creates a tunnel effect that overshadows Cordova Bay Estates and as a service corridor may generate excessive noise into the strata during off hours. This wall is a blank barrier and should not be used to post advertising and could be improved with murals or graphic relief. It is also noted that garbage bins are located backing up to a residence in Cordova Bay Estates. The juxtaposition of service lane and residential is unfortunate. This is even worse at the west end of the property with the large, unbuffered service lane for the grocery store.
* There is no left hand turn from Cordova Bay Road into the Residential section of Building #1 which then requires all residents to enter into Doumac and travel through the shopping area before going underground. This mix of resident traffic driving through and the Commercial traffic and pedestrians should be a concern as residents drivers are passing through.
* There is no left hand turning lane exiting from Building #1 onto Cordova Bay Road which requires Residents to either turn right and travel to Claremont, Royal Oak or possibly do illegal U-turns to go north to their originally intended destination. Or alternatively go back though the shopping area and the pedestrians there.
* All A/C equipment is located close to some residents in Cordova Bay Estates and might be better situated elsewhere.
* The entrance to the Underground Parking for both residents and shoppers is located in the center of the plaza causing more traffic and pedestrian interaction.
* A sidewalk on the east side of Building # 2 would add to the safety of shoppers.
* A larger Community space near Building #4 with seating, bike racks to make it more of a Landmark entrance would be more inviting.
* A drop off area near the proposed restaurant would assist customers to off load passengers that might have mobility issues.
* A bus pull-out on Cordova Bay Road is required so as not to cause traffic backup at both Doumac and Cordova Bay Road.
* There are no provisions for pedestrians leaving the plaza and crossing Cordova Bay Road to access the beach. This is a common occurrence and a sidewalk and possibly a crossing light with money coming from the Amenities Fund would improve safety particularly in that Doumac is the primary exit and entrance for the plaza.
* More detail of the overall signage design and a stronger sense of entrance under the 3888, Doumac and the TRU VALUE marquees would be more appealing.
* The lower walls of the  three main buildings are blank barriers, with the lack of fenestration giving an institutional feel. More relief would add character and be more aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps more troubling is the lack of “eyes on the street” at grade, which makes such an area feel unsafe.
* It appears the trucks are required to back up on Doumac to unload at Building #2. This seems to be unsafe.
* There is no safe pedestrian access into the plaza from Doumac.
* There is only one main exit into and out of the Plaza, at Doumac, which could restrict emergency access and egress. It could also lead to traffic congestion and impatience when turning left.
In summary, the current overall feel is more urban shopping center than village plaza. The development is unsympathetic to the neighbours on the south and west.
Recognizing the site is zoned as C-3, more work is still required to give an appealing, village look with consideration for transition from it to Cordova Bay Road and the neighbouring residential areas.
There are also a number of safety and noise concerns and areas that have limited sight lines that might lead to unwanted activities.
Larry Gontovnick, President
Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA)
August 3, 2016 by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist from Saanich Voice Online
Sooner Rather than Later
Change is coming to Cordova Bay Plaza almost two decades after underground gasoline pollution from a nearby property stalled redevelopment.
Architect Alan Lowe outlined to Saanich Voice Online the proposals that will likely form the details in a Development Permit application soon to Saanich. Lowe will be the applicant on behalf of the plaza. James Gardiner, a realtor and owner of James Gardiner Construction, has an option to purchase the property from Your Family Food Mart subject to approval of the Development Permit.
The new proposal for the plaza greatly increases the number of condos in the mixed commercial-residential development – to 80 from 16 in a plan approved by Saanich in 1999 but which did not go ahead because of underground gasoline pollution from a nearby former gas station site. Remediation by Shell Canada resulted in the Ministry of the Environment issuing a Certificate of Compliance in 2012.
“…after years of neglect the Cordova Bay Plaza property will be redeveloped as a commercial and residential space that will transform the property into a vibrant and attractive village centre in the heart of Cordova Bay” ~ Larry Gontovnick
Lowe said the new proposal does not require rezoning so no public hearing will be required as it does not seek any variances from regulations. He said there will be a public information meeting soon in the neighbourhood to share information and to receive comments on the proposal.
News of plaza redevelopment was greeted by Larry Gontovnick, president of the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, who told SVO the CBA “is excited that after years of neglect the Cordova Bay Plaza property will be redeveloped as a commercial and residential space that will transform the property into a vibrant and attractive village centre in the heart of Cordova Bay.”
Tru Value Foods is the plaza’s anchor tenant and owner-general manager Phil Greenhalgh told SVO “we are excited to hear about the future possibilities of this plaza.” The new grocery would be 18,000 square compared with the present 7,500 square feet. It would be located behind the present grocery and north end of the strip mall. The loading dock would be at the rear. There would be three floors of condos above the grocery resulting in a four-storey building.
The northeast corner of the property will have a three-storey building instead of a one-storey drive-thru as previously approved. The upper two storeys will be residential use.
On the south side of the property, the previous 16 apartments on two floors above ground-level shops would continue with retail use on the ground floor but with three floors of condos above – the height not exceeding the regulation 15m. The building’s condos would be stepped back from Cordova Bay Road.
Lowe said most of the condos in the redevelopment will be 1,000 to 1,100 square feet with two bedrooms.
Access to the plaza would only be from Doumac Avenue, meaning that a left-turn lane would be created on Cordova Bay Road for north-bound vehicles. Pedestrian walkways within the property would connect the three buildings and provide access from Cordova Bay Road.
Other proposed features include a new linear pedestrian plaza, landscaping/streetscaping and bicycle path along Cordova Bay Road and retention of the bus bay; a greenspace median would be created separating north and south vehicular traffic on Cordova Bay Road; plug-in for electric cars; bicycle racks; and a replacement community notice board.
The most recent assessed value of the plaza property (which is in two legal lots) is $6,176,000. Most of that value – $5,057,000 – is in the land; $1,119,000 was in the strip-mall/supermarket which was built in 1960.
Meanwhile, at 986/990 Doumac Avenue near Cordova Bay Road, a rezoning application for a four-storey 25-unit condo with underground parking has been submitted to Saanich.
July 4, 2016 by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist from Saanich Voice Online
Eight Storeys for Cordova Bay
Construction is expected to start in 2018 on the final stage of the Sayward Hill condominium residential development – an eight-storey 46-suite building with underground parking on Hill Rise Terrace off Cordova Bay Road.
Saanich council approved the development permit for the building in 2008 but construction did not go ahead then because of a softening of the real estate market. “The market is much stronger now than when the project was approved,” Karen Jawl, director of Jawl Properties Ltd., told Saanich Voice Online.
“We had been reviewing the project and our over-all workload but do not have have a firm date as of yet. We are leaning towards a construction start of spring 2018 at this point. We have not engaged the construction team.”
The final stage of Sayward Hill was originally envisaged as two six-storey buildings on Hill Rise Terrace but the development company preferred to replace them with one building with two extra floors. The effect was to reduce “massing” and increase greenspace. Half an acre has been donated to Sayward Hill Park. The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs complimented the Jawl family at the time for listening to the community throughout the development’s phases.
Sayward Hill includes a nine-hole golf course and clubhouse in what once were two gravel pits. With the final stage of the residential development, Sayward Hill will have 202 suites.
July 1, 2016 by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist from Saanich Voice Online
Cordova Bay Plaza Redevelopment – Later Rather than Sooner
Cordova Bay Plaza, the strip mall built in 1960, is unlikely to be redeveloped into a new commercial/residential centre in the near future.
Brenda Ferguson, spokesperson for Your Family Food Mart Ltd. that owns the plaza, told Saanich Voice Online, “I have been told to renew the tenants leases for another three years.”
The space formerly occupied by 4 Cats art studio which moved to Uptown has been leased to Funk ‘n Fur, a dog wash and grooming service, said Ferguson. This will be the second location for View Royal’s Funk ‘n Fur and the hope is that the plaza shop will be open on Aug. 1. There are seven stores (one is vacant) at the plaza which is anchored by Tru Value Foods supermarket.
The plaza gained Saanich council approval for redevelopment in 1999 for a much larger supermarket as well as shops and 16 apartments in one three-storey building on the south side and a separate bank building (for Scotia bank) in the northeast corner. It was known publicly in 1998 that a nearby former gas station site was polluted so approval for the plaza redevelopment was made subject to confirmation from the Ministry of the Environment that no site remediation was required.
But investigation disclosed there was underground gasoline pollution on the plaza property from the closed Payless gas station owned by Shell Products Canada on the other side of Doumac Avenue. A lawsuit and counter-suit started in 2003 was settled out-of-court in 2010 with agreement that no details be disclosed.
On-going remediation led to the ministry issuing a Certificate of Compliance for the plaza property on May 18, 2012, stating that the property has been “satisfactorily remediated to meet Contamination Sites Regulation Standards for commercial land soil use and marine aquatic water use and Hazardous Waste Regulation standards.”
But the ministry cautioned at the time that it made no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information it received on which the certificate was based. “This Certificate of Compliance should not be construed as an assurance that there are no hazards present on the site described above,” said the ministry.
May 5, 2016 by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist from Saanich Voice Online
Aragon Properties has scaled back its proposal for housing in the former Trio quarry and industrial site at Cordova Bay Road/Fowler Road/Alderley Road by one-quarter from its initial plan in 2015.
The revised proposal calls for 330 dwelling units compared with 385 previously and 440 initially – click here for revised site plan. The latest reduction has resulted from the elimination of six-storey condos in a redesign of the north end of the property in favour of single-family homes.
David Roppel, director of planning and development for Aragon Properties, told Saanich Voice Online (SVO) the changes are in response to input from the community and Saanich.
“The (revised) plan is with the District (of Saanich) for comment and we are continuing to work closely with Cordova Bay community groups to get input,” he said.
Still being worked on with Saanich is the matter of insufficient downstream sewerage capacity for the proposal. Any downstream sewerage upgrades will be at Aragon’s expense – Saanich has said it made Aragon aware of sewerage flow limitation before it bought the property. The property is within the Sewer Service Area and within the Urban Containment Boundary.
Contacted by SVO, the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs said in a statement it does not support the development “as currently presented.”
The community group spelled out several reasons for its opposition that are to do with road safety.
As for the overall densification of the project, criticized earlier by the CBA, “the CBA it will not comment until such time as a fully comprehensive traffic study/assessment has been conducted to demonstrate conclusively that traffic usage of the neighbouring road network is sustainable beyond the build-out period, regardless of development size.”
The CBA acknowledged that the revised plan is a partial submission and further work is to be done and it remains concerned about other issues it raised earlier. The group said it “is committed to ensuring a community-wide acceptable residential development of the former Trio lands by Aragon Properties Ltd.”
Housing Development at Ex-Trio Site by Aragon Properties – December 15, 2015
Subject: Cordova Bay Association response to Proposed Aragon Development
Attention: Saanich Planning Department, Neil Findlow, Senior Planner
The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA) does not support the application for development prepared by Aragon for the former Trio Lands as presented.
The CBA has completed and attached a couple reports from the CBA: Trio Subcommittee Report and the CBA: Traffic committee Report regarding the proposed Aragon- Cordova Bay Development. These reports review some of the key Issues and concerns of the proposed development and raise a number of unanswered questions and shortcomings of the proposed project in its current form .
While the CBA supports a residential development on these lands it objects to the present proposal, notably around the issues of unit density, lack of details regarding traffic volumes and traffic movement, timing of improvements to Fowler and Cordova Bay, and finally the proposed development is inwardly focused.
Regarding traffic volumes and personal safety, the CBA sees serious shortcomings in the supplied Traffic study and requests that a more detailed study be completed . The CBA sees several issues regarding proposed resident and commercial traffic being allowed to back onto and across two lanes of Cordova Bay Road , with no provisions for turnarounds.
The details and timing of infrastructure upgrades have not been defined and suggestions in the Traffic Study that they are not required until the very last stages of the development does not take into consideration construction traffic or the safety of residents as the number of completed residents increase. There is also no consideration of traffic flow short cutting into the Community if and when Cordova Bay Road is closed from accessing on to the Pat Bay Highway in the future.
It is the CBA’s position that the Project densities be more in line with that of other developments in Cordova Bay, respecting the semi-rural nature of our community and similar to that of existing current zoning.
CBA President and Board
Housing Development at Ex-Trio Site
The former Trio Ready-Mix property at Cordova Bay Road/Fowler Road, site of a one-time quarry, rock-crushing operation, concrete batch plant and latterly mulch and soil mix sales, will be turned into a major housing development by Aragon Properties. Some early and preliminary details were disclosed by Aragon on May 30, 2015, at a public input meeting and presentation. Here, courtesy of Saanich Voice Online, is a report — Saanich Voice Online. by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist and resident of Cordova Bay.
Plans for new Badminton hall
UPDATE – The Cordova Bay Community Club has filed its rezoning application with Saanich – to change the zoning from RS-18 (residential) to P-4 (recreation) – to construct a new facility.
To view the site plan click here.
Members of the Cordova Bay Community Club voted in favour on Nov. 28, 2012, of a special resolution authorizing the borrowing of up to $800,000 to build a new facility at 941 Sutcliffe Road.
The next steps are for the club to submit rezoning and development permit applications to Saanich and to communicate with the community.
The present hall was built by the club in two stages in the late 1940s and 1950s for sports and community gatherings. Like the present hall, the proposed building will require much volunteer labour and donated materials.
For more information, please contact club president Ron Jordan – 250-385-9422 – firstname.lastname@example.org. The history of the club is recorded in Sea-Lake: Recollections and History of Cordova Bay and Elk Lake, by Anne Pearson, at pages 108-110. The book is available from the Greater Victoria Public Library.
(Contributed by Roger Stonebanks, CBA member.)
ARAGON PROPERTIES WILL DEVELOP TRIO PROPERTY
LATEST NEWS: The first of three Public-Input Workshops – February 21st, 2015 between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the Cordova Bay Golf Course Ridge Club House.
For more information, click here.
Aragon Properties of Vancouver, a major land developer, is the new owner of the Trio property in Cordova Bay. The sale for $6,150,000 was concluded on Dec. 16, 2014.
The company foresees a residential development with a small commercial component and said it will consult with residents and the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs early in the new year.
Aragon has developed residential real estate in places such as New Westminster, Vancouver, Port Moody and Toronto.
The developer is not presenting a plan and intends to first listen to the community to find out what is “relevant, useful and appropriate,” said David Roppel, Aragon’s director of planning and development. Aragon wants to know what level of density the community favours.
Click on links below for more information:
Victoria Times Colonist.
The Fall 2014 issue of The Cordovan, Page 3 – “Changes Coming at Trio Property.”
FOR EARLIER INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
PLAZA SITE GIVEN CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
LATEST: Interesting article written for Saanich Voice Online Feb. 1, 2015– please click here.
(All Plaza articles kindly contributed by Roger Stonebanks, CBA member)
The long-standing issue of underground gasoline pollution at the Cordova Bay Plaza has resulted in the Ministry of the Environment issuing a Certificate of Compliance on May 18, 2012. But redevelopment of the site is not expected to happen anytime soon.
“This Certificate of Compliance is regarding remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon and dissolved metal contamination which migrated onto the subject site from a neighbouring site located at 5146 Cordova Bay Road, Victoria, BC,” the ministry has informed Shell Canada Products in Calgary.
Shell Canada, and before it Payless Gas (which Shell acquired in 1993), operated a service station at the fenced-off lot at 5146 Cordova Bay Road which closed in 1997. The plaza gained Saanich council approval for a mixed residential and commercial redevelopment in 1999 but council withheld issuing the Development Permit pending consolidation of the two legal lots that comprise the plaza property and, importantly as it turned out, confirmation from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks that no site remediation is required.
To continue reading the story, please click here.