Island Highway key issue for old fire hall site

Vehicle access to be dealt with before View Royal issues building permit

It’s been almost a year since the old View Royal fire hall was torn down.

With the lot still sitting vacant and negotiations for its sale essentially completed, the status of the property is due to change soon. But not before some concerns with access and egress are ironed out for the 37-unit, four-storey apartment building planned for the site at 280 Island Hwy.

Before voting 3-1 to approve the project at a recent meeting, View Royal council heard from residents concerned about the potential for further traffic problems in the area. Several people reminded council about ongoing issues with drivers pulling illegal u-turns on Island Highway or cutting through on neighbourhood streets to have easier access into the southbound commuting line.

A neighbour who lives across Island Highway pointed out that the density along this corridor is almost guaranteed to increase as the Town moves to extend the village-style traffic calming elements along Island Highway from Stormont Road at the top of Four Mile Hill toward Helmcken Road.

That’s why the traffic safety needs to be looked at now, she said.

“This is going to be the first application [of many] along here in the next 10 to 15 years,” the woman said, adding that without a left turn lane leading vehicles out of the development, “it’s going to be a nightmare.”

Project architect Alan Lowe told council that the huge prospective cost of moving the sewer line prompted the designers to move the vehicle access to the higher side of the development, where residents would enter and exit the site on a flat surface rather than an incline. But that decision places the driveway next to the driveway of the Village Grove residential complex at 278 Island Hwy.

Two residents in that development wrote to say they had grave concerns over the safety of not having some kind of left-turn holding bay for vehicles exiting their complex or the planned one at 280 Island Hwy.

Coun. Ron Mattson called the potential for conflict between people turning right out of Village Grove and those turning left out of the new development “a huge issue” that will need addressing sooner than later, “otherwise accidents are waiting to happen,” he said.

He asked Lowe how he felt about the prospect of a “right-in, right-out” scenario for entering and exiting the new development. Lowe stated that Village Grove has no such stipulation, so the Town would have to consider rendering it the same for all properties in that block.

Faced with somewhat of a stalemate over what appeared to be a clear traffic safety issue, council appealed to Town engineering director John Rosenberg for guidance.

He said the ability to create a right-in, right-out access exists for the new project, but could well increase the likelihood of illegal turns in the area.

Coun. Aaron Weisgerber asked whether a possibility exists to twin the driveways of the neighbouring developments. Rosenberg said a power pole would need to be replaced to accommodate such a plan and “would [cost] six figures to move.”

With still no resolution, Coun. John Rogers asked, “What would allow us to prevent this construction until the access and egress are determined?”

Town administrator Kim Anema stepped in at that point and assured council that staff and the proponent would deal with the access issue before a building permit was issued.

Council’s approval – Mattson voted to decline the application – included granting variances that reduce the front and rear setbacks, allow for an extra 0.9 metres in height for rooftop features, increase the height of a west side retaining wall from 1.2 m to 1.6 m and reduce the number of onsite parking stalls from 42 to 40.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Joanne Smith has been visiting Goldstream Provincial Park since she moved to Langford two years ago. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Visitors flock to Goldstream Provincial Park for 2020 salmon run

‘I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,’ says visitor

Emily Harris (centre) started the in-person Monarch Moms meet-up groups in July, when it was much easier to physical distance in outdoor spaces. Harris started the group as a source of connection for women navigating the ups and downs of having a baby during a pandemic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria new mom group navigates challenges of motherhood in a pandemic

Monarch Moms meet once a week for physically-distanced connection

The Takaya inspired sculpture currently in Kent Laforme’s outdoor studio. The 25,000-pound piece of Vancouver Island marble could be installed on Cattle Point. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read