This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted)

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted)

Sidney asked to show patience about identity of would-be warehouse operator

President of York Realty says nobody is trying to hide anything

The president of a company planning to build a large warehouse in Sidney on airport lands is asking the public for patience when it comes to the identity of the would-be tenant of the building.

“I can understand people’s interest, but I think people have to have a bit of patience with us,” said Matt Woolsey, president of York Realty. He said his company cannot sign contracts until the company knows what they can and cannot do. “I don’t think anybody is trying to hide. It’s not retail and it’s not commercial, so at this stage, until we have something more concrete to talk about, unfortunately, we cannot get into that.”

Woolsey confirmed that his company is in talks with a company. “Of course we are. We want to build a building, we want a tenant,” he said, later adding he is following his company’s standard process.

“Regardless of what the tenant does or doesn’t want to disclose, you don’t talk about who your tenant is,” he said. They will be part of the conversation at some time, he added.

RELATED: Sidney calls on Victoria Airport Authority to improve design of planned warehouse

RELATED: Neighbours stunned by massive warehouse proposed near Victoria airport

The so-far-undisclosed identity of the “last-mile distribution company” that plans to lease the building almost 23 metres tall has perhaps been as much a subject of discussion as the proposed height and massing of the building.

Woolsey’s comments come after Sidney council Monday passed a series of motions in response to plans by York Realty to build a warehouse on federally owned land next to the residential neighbourhood along Galaran Road in West Sidney.

Notably, the initial version of the first motion passed by council recommended that VAA not approve the development “without first engaging WSANEC Leadership Council Society, providing opportunities for public input, and disclosing the name of the tenant.”

RELATED: MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

The motion came days after local MP Elizabeth May had said that the public has the right to know the identity of the tenant amidst speculations that online retail giant Amazon would be operating out of the facility.

The final version of the first motion passed by council, however, did not include the requirement to disclose the company planning to lease the facility.

Coun. Terri O’Keeffe said it would be nice to know the identity, but she was not prepared to ask the airport authority to disclose the identity. “We don’t do that for any other organization and I don’t know if disclosing the name of the tenant really is relevant to our discussion of this,” she said.

RELATED: Chamber of Commerce promises Sidney warehouse proposal will deliver jobs

RELATED: 23-metre tall warehouse pitched for airport lot next to Sidney neighbourhood

Citing Woolsey’s first appearance before council last month, Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith later said that the decision to withhold the identity of the company neither lies with VAA nor York Realty in agreeing with O’Keeffe. “It’s the decision of the tenant to not disclose,” he said. “We expressed our concern with that and the community has certainly expressed their concerns with that.”

Coun. Sara Duncan said she is afraid that knowledge about the identity of the company would generate comments that would not apply to the development itself.

Coun. Chad Rintoul agreed with those comments, adding that council is really focused on the impacts of the building on the neighbours and infrastructure. “Having said that, it is my preference that they (the company) would have come forward and been proud of what they are doing here and raise the profile of our community and their business efforts in the process. I cannot think of an undertaking of this nature where that hasn’t happened on airport lands or anywhere else for that matter.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read