HOMEFINDER: View Royal still a hidden gem on the West Shore

Community seen as a great place to live, work, play

Realtor Jason Leslie built his first home in View Royal.

That was 16 years ago. After spending 14 years in the real estate business, he advises today’s potential home buyers not to overlook one of the West Shore’s hidden gems as a place to live, work and play.

“I can say firsthand, it was one of the most convenient places to live,” said Leslie, who continues to live and work on the West Shore. “People haven’t heard about it. They hear about Royal Bay and Bear Mountain. I think it’s probably under-rated and under-appreciated. The waterfront they have in the harbour district, it’s marvellous.”

Leslie finds his clients don’t often ask specifically about View Royal, mostly because they don’t know it as well. Its best-known landmarks might be the View Royal Casino and Highland Pacific Golf Course, in part because there isn’t quite the signage of other municipalities and the Town doesn’t necessarily have a “downtown core.”

“Everyone who drives down the Island Highway refers to the Colwood strip, but 50 per cent of it is in View Royal,” he said.

While the land base is smaller than say Langford or Colwood, a number of multi-unit developments are either newly built or coming on stream within the next year. Especially busy project areas are on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway, such as at Eagle Creek Village, Watkiss Way, Thetis Vale and Six Mile Road.

One amenity that only View Royal has within its bounds may be one of the most valuable for some potential homeowners.

“When you get people retiring, one of the first questions is, ‘where is the hospital?’” Leslie said. “With a lot of people retiring and coming to Greater Victoria, they cash out (of Vancouver) and are probably not going to buy in Oak Bay and Broadmead. (They go) where their dollar goes further.”

Another big plus for the municipality that abuts Saanich and Esquimalt is the new McKenzie Interchange coming online. The Town may be one of the biggest benefactors of the new infrastructure, being the closest West Shore municipality to it.

“I like it (in View Royal), it’s a very central location, it’s smack in the middle it’s a unique municipality,” Leslie continued. “It’s a municipality that has been overlooked a little bit because of its size.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

What else is coming for View Royal?

With all the talk of needing more arts facilities in the West Shore, it appears it won’t be Colwood or Langford that get the first new theatre here, it will, in fact be View Royal. While plans have yet to be officially unveiled, the View Royal Casino is expected to include a new 600-seat showroom-style theatre in its $20 million upgrade with potential for it to be ready to go within the next 18 months.

The new theatre would see different acts, some that tour casinos, but may also be open for community use. A larger new restaurant is also touted for the expansion.

The City of Victoria will one day be home to a second casino for the region, but View Royal will remain the primary gaming venue for the region, according to the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE JULY 18/16 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 512/796 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JULY 2015

» 630/1,235 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2015

» 2,214/3,942 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2015

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