Town of Sidney staff are saying they have no significant concerns with the proposed Sidney Crossing commercial project set for the intersection of the Pat Bay Highway and Beacon Avenue.
A report delivered by Manager of Planning Alison Verhagen could essentially give the Town’s latest blessing to the nearly 100,000 square-foot (98,995 sq.ft.) project. Her report is scheduled to be reviewed by council Tuesday night (Nov. 14, 7 p.m.). The report to council comes within the Town’s 40 days it had to review the plan, under a memorandum of understanding with the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA).
The VAA controls the land on which the project — Sidney Crossing, once called Sidney Gateway — is proposed and has worked with the Town on land rezoning — and the Agricultural Land Commission to remove a portion of the site from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The VAA is working with Omicron Developments Ltd., who proposed the commercial area and have presented a plan for 10 new buildings on site, parking for 407 vehicles, a road re-alignment and new roundabout at Galaran Road and sidewalks. Omicron has also agreed to build a new pedestrian overpass north of the property, connecting West Sidney with Sidney proper.
The site is expected to be anchored by a grocery chain, drive-through restaurants, professional and medical offices, a daycare and fitness space, liquor retail, pharmacy and electronics stores. Actual tenants have not yet been publicly disclosed by Omicron.
The Town noted some changes to the original plans presented by Omicron in 2016, notably a tenth building, the removal of pedestrian plaza and water fountain.
As well, the report notes that the VAA, not the Town, is responsible for requiring the developer to put up money (bonding) for works such as curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lights and landscaping.
Town staff also note that they expect water runoff to increase from the site as it’d developed. “On-site storm water management will be required to minimize the impact … on storm mains in the area which are already at capacity,” stated the report. They added plans do show an underground water containment area at the south east corner of the property “to limit the flow … to pre-development conditions.”
In addition to those notes, staff recommend council ask the VAA to consider some changes to building elevations to improve “visual interest”. They also suggest that a pair of trees currently on the site be preserved by the developer (in the wake of recent public feedback on the plan). Other suggestions include: a children’s play area and water fountain added to a central plaza; screening for all garbage and recycling areas, and; that the VAA get security (cash) in place from the developer to build the agreed-upon pedestrian overpass over the highway.
Once Town council has debated the proposal, they will forward any concerns and suggestions to the VAA to be addressed. Once all plans have been reviewed and possibly revised, the VAA would be in a position to issue a building permit to Omicron.
The proposed Sidney Crossing has attracted attention, both for and against, since the VAA first announced it was looking for proposals to develop the land.