Plans call for demolition of Oak Bay Lodge

Debates about using the empty Oak Bay Lodge as short-term housing could be moot — the four-storey building is set to be demolished under a plan outlined by the Capital Regional Hospital District in a request for proposals for a construction manager.

The district does, however, note that a contract may not necessarily result from the publicly posted proposal.

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Plans call for the 3.9-acre site to be redeveloped, the CRHD says in its document, which sets a deadline of Dec. 22 for applications for a construction manager.

The hazardous materials removal and demolition budget for Oak Bay Lodge is estimated at $1.4 million, it says.

The posting comes as the lodge is being eyed by some as a potential place to house people without homes, a continuing problem in Greater Victoria.

The 235-bed facility, built in 1970, was left vacant this year after residents were moved to The Summit, a new seniors facility on Hillside Avenue.

Victoria council voted last month in favour of a plan to end around-the-clock camping in local parks by the end of March, and urged the province to open a small section of Oak Bay Lodge for people 55 and older who have no homes.

In September, however, Capital Regional District board members voted to allow the lodge to remain empty, rather than look into using it as temporary housing for seniors without homes during the pandemic.

Many cited concerns including the building’s safety and worries that the use would be a barrier to long-term plans for the property.

The request for proposals document did not specify the timing of the demolition work.

A successful proponent would manage the selection and award of contracts for an experienced hazardous materials removal contractor, as well as for deconstruction and demolition contracts.

Located in the midst of a well-established residential neighbourhood, the lodge property is bordered on the east and west by single-family lots, and by a multi-family three-storey building on Cadboro Bay Road.

According to the hospital district, “A public engagement process is underway and discussions on the project will be ongoing with neighbours and are expected to continue through the demolition process.”

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