Royal Bay eyed for marina, commuter ferry, says Colwood mayor

  • Tue Apr 5th, 2011 8:00pm
  • News

A marina developer is among those interested in purchasing the vast and vacant Royal Bay lands.

Colwood Mayor Dave Saunders said there are currently five developers with substantial interest in the site, including a few from B.C., one from Alberta and one overseas firm.

However, none have put an offer on the land nor made rezoning requests to the City. The 424-acre waterfront property, zoned for 2,800 residential units and commercial space, is selling for between $30 and $50 million.

Saunders said he’s encouraging the interested developers to work together on a joint proposal for the site.

“It’s quite a large area for one firm to manage,” said Saunders, who chairs the City’s planning and land use committee. “I’ve suggested collaboration, but I don’t know if it will happen.”

One element of the marina proposal, according to Saunders, is SeaBus-style commuter ferry to downtown Victoria that could become part of the transit system. Saunders said he’s not at liberty to reveal who’s behind that project.

Rumors circulating in Colwood suggest it’s being proposed by the same team who planned a 52-slip large yacht marina near Victoria’s inner harbour and sparked public outcry last September.

But when the Gazette contacted Lachlan MacLean of WAM Development and Robert Evans of Community Marine Concepts, both denied being involved with the Colwood proposal.

“Until (the developers) are ready to make a formal splash, I can’t say too much,” Saunders said. “There’s a ton of rumors being purposely spread for political reasons.”

Some claim the marina proposal includes upwards of 300 slips. But Saunders, who’s seen preliminary sketches for the project, said that’s not true.

“I will say that it’s nowhere the size that some people claim,” he said.

“I’ve always supported a marina at that location,” the mayor added. “Of course, it would be subject to public consultation for the rezoning process.”

Saunders is hopeful the plans will be released publicly in a month or so.

The Royal Bay lands owned by Lehigh Northwest Materials have been idle since 2007 when the owner closed its gravel pit operations. The land was reclassified from industrial to residential-commercial, leaving Colwood with a $1.2 million tax shortfall in 2009.

Alberta’s Statesman Group considered buying the property, but pulled out of the deal last summer. No developers have publicly declared interest in the site since.

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