Plans for the new health and wellness centre in the heart of Colwood have been put on hold.
Council voted in favour of withdrawing the rezoning application for the property at Island Highway and Ocean Boulevard during a meeting earlier this week.
“Nothing will change on this for the time being,” said Mayor Carol Hamilton, noting the rezoning was simply to get the City’s ducks in a row to turn the site into a city asset for the future.
“We were trying to juggle a multitude of processes all at once and putting it [the wellness centre] out there in the public for discussion … I thought we were trying to keep everyone apprised of what was happening. It would have taken a couple of years before anything closed.”
Earlier this year, the City announced it was approached with a proposal to replace the park and ride with an integrated, mixed-use health and wellness centre that would include health services, offices and retail with up to 7,500 square-metres of floor area.
City staff are working with B.C. Transit and other partners, such as the Town of View Royal, to identify other locations for a new park and ride site.
However, since news broke some residents have raised concerns about the lack of transparency, as there were a number of unanswered questions about the project.
At the advisory planning commission meeting in February, several members of the commission also expressed reservations, with many noting they would like to see a comprehensive plan in place before making changes to the property.
During Monday’s meeting, Coun. Jason Nault said the application, which would have changed the zoing of the park and ride from park and open space to comprehensive development, was a bit “premature,” but hopes the property can be rezoned for another use in the future.
“It’s a very valuable city asset. By it staying as a park and ride, we are losing and estimated $130,00 a year in tax revenues,” he said, adding he would like to see the property rezoned similar to other properties in the downtown.
“Having the property developed would be an asset to the City of Colwood.”
Now, the City must go through the process of changing the property from highway dedication to a land asset, which would make it a “stronger asset to the City,” Hamilton said.