Crews work to clear the trees at Evergreen Mall. The felling of the trees marks the beginning of the mall’s development. (Tim collins / Sooke NEws Mirror)

Work begins on Sooke’s Evergreen Centre expansion

More trees will be planted to replace those lost

The long-awaited redevelopment of Sooke’s Evergreen Mall has begun.

It’s been a long road to get to this point since a fire gutted a two-storey building at the 6660 Sooke Rd. shopping mall in 2013.

The property was first cleared and left vacant (used as a parking lot) until the owners, Partners REIT, pitched redevelopment plans in 2017. Those plans included a 6,400 square foot single-storey commercial building adjacent to the B.C. Liquor Store.

But those plans fell by the wayside as, in 2018, Partners REIT divested itself of its western Canadian properties and ownership passed to Ontario-based real-estate development trust, Skyline REIT.

“We are moving ahead with our development now and we expect to be finished by the early Spring of 2020,” said company president Gordon Driedger.

“The only tenants that we are prepared to reveal at this time is Tim Hortons, but I’m confident that this development will be a great boost to Sooke.”

In an ironic twist, Sooke’s Evergreen Centre first steps toward the planned mall expansion came with the removal of a series of–you guessed it–evergreens.

The four large Douglas Fir trees, estimated by one tree faller at about 50 years of age, were located at the entrance to the mall and had provided a singular profile to the municipality’s main street.

“It was necessary to take those trees out, but there will be considerable landscaping done as part of this development so, in the long run, there will be many more trees and plants brought in than what we’ve removed,” said Driedger.

Crews from Tomohawk tree service arrived early Monday morning and taped off a significant portion of the entry to the mall before setting to work limbing the four largest trees at the entrance to the mall as well as a group of about a dozen smaller trees on an adjacent roadway.

By noon, a half dozen of the larger trees were denuded and the first of the towering conifers were sent crashing to the ground.

RELATED: Initial plans for the Evergreen Mall fell through

Aaron Gray, the owner of Tomahawk Tree Service was on hand to supervise the felling of the trees and acknowledged that the removal of large trees in an urban centre was hazardous work.

“We have a lot of safety protocols in place and we’re taking every precaution for the safety of passers-by and our staff,” said Gray.

“This can be very dangerous work, but safety is always our primary concern.”

It was expected that all the trees would be down and cleared away by the end of the day.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

Number of U-Hauls entering Victoria plummeted in 2019

Data compiled from two million one-way U-Haul transactions

Esquimalt explores creating portage beach for choppy Gorge waters

The portage beach would add safety to the Victoria Waterways Loop

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read