Developer Onni Group has resubmitted its development plans for Colwood Corners and the project has a clear emphasis on pedestrian access, variety and a green environment.
According to the City of Colwood’s website, improvements to the character of the buildings include a variety of facade elements, such as colours and materials and a variation of roofline angles and treatments.
“(It) just makes it more interesting and lively on the eyes so that it’s not boring and standard looking,” noted Coun. Gordie Logan, chair of the City’s planning and land use committee.
Highlights of an improved environment for pedestrians include benches, landscaping and lighting, as well as a provision of outdoor open space including a children’s play area and Galloping Goose Trail connections.
The plan also calls for improvements of the existing London Drugs building.
“What I thought was encouraging was there was a greater emphasis on the pedestrian in this plan and a bit of a bump in the commercial component,” said Logan.
Altogether the project’s first phase would include the construction of eight buildings, providing 276 residential units and approximately 14,200 square metres of commercial space.
The second phase encompasses two buildings and 201 residential units.
A Sooke Road cycling lane and boulevard are also planned adjacent to the development.
Many of the project’s features are in line with the City’s desire to improve its town centres and make them more welcoming places for residents.
“It really will be a central node for community gathering and that’s kind of what we were hoping for; a central hub that will offer services that people can walk to,” Logan said.
Council’s next directive is likely to address what he calls the City’s “out of date” parking bylaw, which calls for more parking spaces than what is typically needed with today’s new developments.
“I understand that it’s going to happen relatively quickly … that process is a priority for staff.”
Colwood director of planning, Iain Bourhill, noted that the City is waiting on a revised parking study and that variances of the type being requested for this development generally require a six-to-eight week process.
Currently, the development permit is being reviewed by staff, who are in regular discussions with Onni Group, to ensure council’s directive and design standards from the official community plan are met.
Onni Group didn’t respond to the Gazette’s request for comment, but it’s expected they’ll be looking to start construction in the first half of 2017.
When they do, it’ll be a cause for celebration for council and staff, who have seen the Colwood Corners “hole” lay dormant since a $1-billion project initiated by League Assets Corp. fell apart over three years ago.
“I think that will be the beginning of the transformation for that area … that’s exciting,” Logan said.