$100-million project gets a hearing

Seven buildings proposed near Victoria General Hospital

A proposed $100-million development near Victoria General Hospital in View Royal goes to public hearing Tuesday.

Known as Eagle Creek Village, the two-phase development proposed by Omicron at Helmcken Road and Watkiss Way will include seven buildings that will provide 112,000 square feet of retail, 69,000 square feet of medical and professional offices and 138 residential units, according to plans submitted to the municipality.

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If approved, construction of the first phase will begin this spring, with a scheduled completion in 20 months.

About 50 of the first-phase residential units are to be market rental.

"As a result of the changes that we've seen in the mortgage application rules, we're seeing people are more challenged in being able to buy their first home," said Omicron director Peter Laughlin.

"We're going to hopefully raise the bar and be a fairly high level of quality. We want to it be somewhere people want to live rather than have to live."

Quality Foods has signed on to be the anchor tenant and the project is already 85 per cent preleased, Laughlin said.

The company, which has offices in Calgary and Victoria, has already held two community meetings and made minor adjustments to address neighbours' concerns, Laughlin said.

The development will have total economic benefits to the town of $7.9 million, he said: $2 million in development cost charges; $4.1 million in parkland dedication; $500,000 for offsite improvements, including intersection upgrades and a new emergency access to the hospital; $300,000 for a children's play area and nature trail and a $1-million direct cash contribution to View Royal.

Retail opportunities include the grocery store, a pharmacy, a liquor store and a restaurant.

Office space would be targeted at family physicians, health clinics, dentists, physiotherapists and financial services.

"The biggest thing of all is that the annual tax generation is in excess of $1.2 million a year," Laughlin said.

"We recognize that this is a fairly significant development for View Royal, so we want it to be absolutely top quality."

The development would be a welcome addition to the township, said View Royal Mayor Graham Hill.

"We've been encouraging it because it does represent a significant commercial and residential development for us," Hill said.

"We have judged, as a council and staff, that this is a vitally important commercial and residential development adjacent to the hospital precinct, which is the largest single point of employment inside View Royal. Therefore, we see this as being both an amenity for the immediate area but also for those who work there.

"So yes. We're keen to see this move ahead."

The first phase of the project is hoped to be started by April.

It will include most of the commercial and office space, as well as about 60 residential units.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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