Project seen as renewal for Gorge Tillicum neighbourhood

Saanich has approved what councillors are calling a “major renewal project” for the Gorge-Tillicum area.

Council gave a unanimous nod to a commercial-residential plan that includes a five-storey, 53-unit multifamily building and three large commercial units at the corner of Gorge Road West and Tillicum Road.

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It’s the site of a strip mall anchored by Il Greco Restaurant, which owns the property at the northwest corner of the busy intersection. “This is a wonderful first step to renewal … replacing tired, older infrastructure … and growing our community,” said Coun. Colin Plant.

Councillors granted the landowner rezoning from commercial to general commercial neighbourhood centre and allowed variance permits on building setbacks, height and reduced parking.

They noted architect Alan Lowe, the applicant acting on behalf of the property owner, worked closely with municipal staff to fine tune the project.

The landowner also agreed to make a $108,000 contribution for improvements to nearby Gorge Park and will finance the removal of trees on the property that will be replanted at other locations in the municipality.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers called the development “an emerging village” and a “blueprint for [a] harmonious community.”

There are two properties in the plan. The single-storey building along Tillicum Road will be torn down and replaced with a five-storey building with underground parking. Townhouse-style units will be built at street level along Arnot Avenue, just off Tillicum, to match single-family homes opposite. The two-storey building on Gorge Road will remain and its exterior matched with the new building.

The overall project will have 16 one-bedroom units, 36 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom. Parking will allow for 75 vehicles.

Plant noted a covenant registered with the municipality ensures units will be rented in perpetuity.

The project will include electric vehicle and electric-bike chargers, and protected sidewalks and bike lanes.

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