Responses from Sidney residents living near the proposed site of a massive warehouse range from anger to curiosity, with some voicing concerns and others unaware.
“It sucks,” said Ron Creelman,who rents a home on Jahn Place, currently up for sale, when asked about plans by York Reality to build a warehouse on a grass lot on the north side of Beacon Avenue West between Galaran and McDonald Park roads.
The eastern edge of the proposed site faces residential properties in Sidney, with the lot sitting on federal land outside the town’s approval process. Final approving authority lies with Victoria Airport Authority. Sidney has asked residents to submit feedback about the project by May 10, one day before the deadline for the municipality to submit its feedback to the airport authority under a memorandum of agreement.
The building — which York Realty plans to lease to an undisclosed “last-mile distribution company” — has an equivalent gross area of more than six soccer fields and its proposed height (22.76 metres) would make it almost as tall as the Sidney Pier Hotel (22.85 metres).
Creelman found out about the project Wednesday morning and was shocked by the proposed height.
Creelman said he has become used to the busy traffic around the area. “And I grew up on airports, so they don’t bother me at all. But some of this traffic, Holy Jesus, it’s ridiculous.”
Creelman articulated a concern heard during Monday’s council meeting, when several councillors raised the issue of traffic. Creelman, for his part, does not plan to find out how the municipality might mitigate any concerns.
“I’ll be moving,” he said. “I’m looking right now actually.”
Creelman’s neighbour Ken White said he found about the project Wednesday morning after his wife had emailed him. “I’m not opposed to anything, but I need to know exactly what it looks like on paper,” he said, adding his reaction will depend in part on the building’s final appearance.
“This side of Sidney has not been beautified at all,” he said. “I pay the same taxes as the guy across the way here, but yet my part of Sidney West is not anywhere as beautified. I don’t have the option of nice sidewalks and nice lighting.”
White plans to submit feedback to the airport authority and the developer with a focus on traffic issues. “My concern is more with the traffic flow,” said White, who has been living near the site for 20 years. “There are lots of young kids in this neighbourhood.”
Tom Dakin, who lives on Skylark Lane, one road over from Jahn Place, took a more philosophical approach.
“There is nothing we can do about it, so there is not much point in worrying about it,” he said. “It’s certainly going to change our view and the amount of sun we are going to get if they put a building that high here.”
While not pleased about the prospect of having a large building in front of his home, beautification measures might mitigate the worst effects. “It’s not great for us, because we are going to lose our view,” he said.
Others are just learning about the project as the Peninsula News Review talked to three individuals living on Skylark Lane, Jahn Place and Beacon Avenue West who had not yet heard about the project.
Victoria Airport Authority (working with York Realty) has established a public feedback portal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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