Construction work at the Sandown commercial property in North Saanich is well under way. Work crews will be doing road improvements at night. (Steven Heywood/News Staff)

After dark: Sandown construction goes overnight

Noise concerns from Sidney could stop nighttime work schedule

Nighttime construction work at the former Sandown race track got the green light from Sidney – but if one person is bothered by it, the work could stop.

The Town of Sidney was asked by Platform Properties, the developer of the Sandown land in North Saanich, to approve a night work schedule as they upgrade McDonald Park Road for commercial use. A 12-acre portion of the former horse racing track is now a commercial zone and work is already under way to make room for a Canadian Tire store.

The road is the boundary between North Saanich and Sidney, however two-thirds of the route falls within Sidney, giving them jurisdiction over construction in that area. Platform Properties and Lake Excavating asked for a night schedule between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and a full closure of McDonald Park Road where their property sits along it, to complete drainage, sewer and access work.

Sidney has granted a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. work window.

The timing of the work – which has already begun and is expected to last until June – is to reduce its impact on the business in the West Sidney Industrial Park. However, residents nearby have already told the municipality they are concerned about the impact of construction noise during the night.

One of the clauses in Sidney’s approval of the work schedule, is that if the Town receives “significant resident concerns” regarding noise, they will shut it down.

Asked what the threshold of “significant resident concern” will be, Director of Development Services, Engineering, Parks and Public Works Tim Tanton said it’s a judgment call and could be a few people or as much as a petition.

Councillor Peter Wainwright said staff shouldn’t wait that long to reaction to people’s concerns.

”A couple people, especially somebody really agitated about it, should be enough,” he said during council’s Feb. 13 meeting. “(The Town) shouldn’t require (people) to march with pitchforks.”

Mayor Steve Price countered that the town could also face that kind of pushback from business owners in the area, if the work has to happen during the day. He said that sort of thing puts Sidney between a rock and a hard place.

Coun. Cam McLennan said businesses in the industrial area will be drastically affected by the work if it’s done during the day. The work, he added, is already happening.

“It is what it is. It’s progress.”

Councillors agreed, however, than more people living in the area should be informed about the nighttime work schedule. Coun. Erin Bremner-Mitchell’s motion to extend the notice area 100 meters (the Town’s current standard is 75m) from the site was approved, meaning the developer and contractor must mail notices to people within that radius, and advertise the work schedule in the News Review.

While work is going on at night, a portion of McDonald Park Road will be used as a lane to allow resident and emergency vehicle access at all times.

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