There have been rumours of big box stores coming to the Saanich Peninsula for years. And while Canadian Tire has been confirmed for North Saanich’s former Sandown race track site, speculation on the imminent arrival of IKEA and Costco hasn’t gone away — fed by vague comments like one that has come to light this week.
A local media story speculating on another Costco superstore coming to property at the Victoria International Airport was met with skepticism by local municipal and Victoria Airport Authority officials who say it’s just not on their radar screen.
However, an email obtained by the PNR gives a hint that local Costco representatives are looking for warehouse space on the Saanich Peninsula.
“… We have been given a little creative license to host some special events to promote membership in preparation for our new warehouse to open on the Saanich Peninsula in about (one-and-a-half) years or so,” reads an email sent to representatives of the region’s parent advisory councils, signed by Sandi Danshin and Dave Hoover, Business and Membership Representatives of Costco Wholesale in Langford.
The PNR has called Danshin, seeking comment.
Geoff Dickson, President and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA), said earlier this week they have not been in any talks with, nor have they been approached by Costco, to lease land. Local media reported rumours that Costco was eyeing the former site of the Slegg Lumber truss warehouse off Mills Road in North Saanich – land that’s within the jurisdiction of the VAA.
Costco Canada spokesperson Ron Damiani stated in an email to Black Press that the company does not provide comment on “any warehouse openings, relocations, expansions or additions of services as these are all strategic in nature.”
A second Costco spokesperson, responding to a Black Press phone call, said there’s nothing definite and reiterated Costco’s policy of only commenting at the actual construction phase.
Town of Sidney Mayor Steve Price said he spoke with Dickson as well, who also confirmed to him that there was nothing happening with Costco on VAA property.
“I have been hearing rumours forever about (the) Keating Cross Road area but this is the first I have heard of this one,” Price stated in an email.
Alice Finall, Mayor of North Saanich, said she heard a similar rumour a few days ago, adding there has been nothing official come through the District.
The arrival of Costco, or other large stores, has long been rumoured for a commercial development on Tsawout First Nations land near Mount Newton Cross Road. That development has not proceeded and if it does, is expected to be significantly different after the start of construction of a new residential project in the area.
As late as September 2017, Central Saanich Councillor Carl Jensen was reporting in local media that rumours of a Costco on Keating Cross Road were also groundless.
In around 1994, the public learned that Costco was planning to locate on the Peninsula, considering sites in both Central Saanich and Sidney. By 1995, as reported by the PNR at that time, both municipal councils courted the company but due to public pressure, both councils voted no and Costco went to Langford.