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More homes, amenities closer to transit coming to Saanich

April 8, 2024 at 12:28 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

A new transit-oriented development with hundreds of new homes, community amenities and a transit hub is coming to the Uptown area of Saanich on several parcels of land, including two recently bought by the B.C. government.

“Our communities are growing quickly, and people need affordable homes close to public transit, so they can get to where they need to go – and get ahead in life,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why our government is buying up land around transit hubs and making sure that the homes that are built there are affordable to people who actually use transit to get to school, work and appointments. This new development in Saanich will create a vibrant, connected community where people can find everything they need at their doorstep.”

The land for the Uptown transit-oriented development was bought through the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $394-million property acquisition fund announced in Budget 2023.

While plans for the site are still in early development, the proposal will be in alignment with Saanich’s Uptown-Douglas Plan. The plan includes multiple buildings with hundreds of housing units, new public gathering spaces, active-transportation connections, retail and commercial space, and potential for amenities, such as child care, community-health facilities and educational services.

“This project is going to help create a connected community where people live near transit with public spaces, saving more time to be with their families,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The central location of these properties next to Highway 1, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and established shopping centre is an ideal place for a bus exchange and much-needed new housing in a transit-oriented community.”

The new development will be designed to integrate with the Lochside and Galloping Goose regional trails to make it a hub for active transportation and transit, with connections to downtown Victoria, the University of Victoria, the Westshore and the Saanich Peninsula.

The Uptown transit-oriented development plan builds on legislation passed by the Province in 2022 and 2023 aimed at speeding up the delivery of homes and encouraging more communities near the transit, services and amenities that make life better.

“We are making it easier for people — workers, young families and seniors — to find the homes they need near transit hubs, thanks to legislation that we passed last fall,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “By increasing density in transit-oriented areas, such as Uptown, more homes can be built for people faster with easy access to transit, amenities and services.”

The Province finalized the purchase of two properties adjacent to the Galloping Goose regional trail in recent weeks – one at 3657 Harriet Rd., currently occupied by Budget Rent-a-Car, and another at 28 Crease Ave., previously occupied by Ryzuk Geotechnical. The purchase price for the Harriet Road Property was $7.5 million, while the Crease Avenue property cost just over $1.8 million.

Planning for the development is in the early conceptual stages. More information will be available when stakeholder engagement starts.

Over the next three years, the Province will invest $618 million in BC Transit infrastructure. This leverages additional federal and local government funding in the same period, for a total of nearly $1.4 billion investment in BC Transit’s capital projects.

Quotes:

Dean Murdock, mayor of Saanich –

“The Uptown-Douglas area is the perfect location for a high-density, transit-oriented development and regional transit hub that will no doubt be transformative for this community Our sincere appreciation to the Province for aligning with Saanich’s vision for a complete community that will feature housing, amenities, access to active transportation and transit options, and so much more for the people who will one day call it home.”

Aaron Lamb, vice-president of asset management, chief sustainability officer, BC Transit –

“It’s encouraging to see housing developments being planned along frequent transit corridors because making transit easier and more accessible will get more people onto buses and get them where they need to go without the need of a personal vehicle. Higher density developments in closer proximity to frequent transit service and retail spaces like Uptown will result in the creation of more livable communities.”

Luke Mari, principal, Aryze Developments –

“The best transportation plan is a land-use plan. When we put the right homes in the right places – near existing services amenities and transit – we can reduce our dependence on private car use. Housing and transportation policies are inextricably linked to climate action and today’s announcement shows why our Province and local municipalities are climate leaders to be celebrated.”

Learn More:

For more information about transit-oriented development areas, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/local-governments-and-housing/housing-initiatives/transit-oriented-development-areas

Learn more about the Province’s Homes for People action plan: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

Learn more about changes to the Transportation Act that allow transit-oriented development areas: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022TRAN0030-000492#:~:text=The%20provincial%20government%20has%20introduced,transit%20stations%20and%20bus%20exchanges

Learn more about transit-oriented development areas: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/local-governments-and-housing/housing-initiatives/transit-oriented-development-areas

Learn more about B.C. government transit-oriented development initiatives: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0063-001748

For more information about B.C.’s Transit-Oriented Development Program, visit: https://www2.qa.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation-projects/transit-oriented-development

A backgrounder follows.

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