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Camosun film studio in Saanich moves along as community concerns heard

Traffic, neighbourhood disruption and environmental impact discussed
The above rendering is a site concept plan of the proposed film studio at Camosun College’s Interurban campus in Saanich. (Rendering courtesy Joint Photographic Experts Group)

As plans for Camosun College’s film studio at the Interurban campus in Saanich are moving along, neighbourhood concerns and potential for growth were addressed in a recent presentation to the surrounding community.

Traffic, disruption to neighbours and the impact the development would have on trees and the environment came up the most.

“A big concern was traffic and making sure it won’t be going through the neighbourhood,” said Geoff Wilmshurst, vice-president of partnerships at Camosun. “We are going to develop a road up the hill from Interurban to prevent large numbers of vehicle traffic to the area.”

Looking at potential tree loss, Mayor Fred Haynes said a positive about the chosen location was its lack of trees – the lot is a mostly open field near the PISE running track.

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“However, bringing the road up from Interurban to circle around the running track will result in tree loss in that space,” he said. “That said, every step is being taken to minimize tree loss and the college is fully committed to tree replacement.”

The project will see further consultation with the community, District of Saanich and First Nations before a request for proposals for contractors to build the studio is advertised.

“We’re getting close to offering the (RFP). Our board has approved the next stage, which ensures that we’re doing our due diligence,” Wilmshurst said.

The film studio is seen as an opportunity for local learners to train for highly paid jobs and begin careers in the film sector, he added.

Employment opportunities will come as part of the development of a new and sustainable industry on southern Vancouver Island, Haynes said. “The region sees this as an opportunity not just for Saanich, but for the region at large.”

Development is expected to begin within the next 18 months.

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