This “imaginative rendering” shows a potential community space for the former Blanshard elementary school site that could end up benefiting Saanich residents. Local residents will rally Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m. to ask the City of Victoria to purchase the site. (Submitted).

Victoria group lobbies for land purchase that could benefit Saanich

Organizer suggests Saanich could support purchase in exchange for support of Kings Parks purchase

A community group lobbying Victoria to purchase a property for community space has invited Saanich residents to a rally Sunday, while pointing to a potential deal that could benefit both communities.

Jenn Neilson said she would be “thrilled to have anyone from anywhere” come out for Sunday’s rally asking Victoria to purchase and revitalize the former Blanshard elementary school site at 950 Kings Road for what she said would be much-needed green space and public amenities.

RELATED: Saanich in agreement to purchase Kings Road land for $5.5 million

As the region grows and density increases,residents need a community backyard and living space, said Neilson. Residents from across Greater Victoria but especially Saanich would benefit from such a space, she said.

This lobbying of Victoria by a community group bears a striking similarity to efforts of a Saanich community group (Save Kings Park) to turn 2.2 hectares of surplus land owned by BC Hydro into a public park. This push also rests on the argument that Saanich needs more community space as its density increases.

Those efforts are starting to pay off after Saanich signed a conditional agreement to purchase the land for $5.5 million. Saanich, however, has not yet decided what to do with the land, and it plans to sell portions of it, if it cannot raise $2.75 million in funding from other sources including other municipal governments to help defray costs.

RELATED: Saanich community group welcomes purchase of Kings Park lands

RELATED: Saanich could pay $2M in interest for a $4M loan for land purchase

The so-called Kings Park property lies near Saanich’s border with both Victoria and Oak Bay, and residents from both communities would benefit from its conversion into a public park, just as Saanich residents would benefit from a new community space in the Hillside-Quadra area if Victoria were to purchase the former Blanshard elementary school site.

“If Saanich were willing to contribute to the purchase of this property [former Blanshard elementary school site], perhaps in exchange for Victoria contributing to that other property [Kings Park], that would be fantastic,” said Neilson.

Municipal boundaries in the Greater Victoria area might be hard and fast, she said, but in real life, the boundaries between various communities and their respective residents are much more fluid.

“The key is for us all to work together,” she said.

RELATED: Push for a new library in Victoria would also benefit Saanich

Organizers scheduled the rally for 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the site of the former school, which closed in 2003 because of declining enrolment. A four-storey, 320-bed residential and dementia care facility is set to open in 2020 on the former school’s field.

Neilson said the facility would serve residents from across the region, so it seems reasonable that this part of Victoria receive additional amenities.

Neilson is also part of a group pushing for additional library space in the area that could also benefit Saanich, and the former Blanshard elementary school site could host that additional space.

Neilson, however, stressed that the push for a new library is not location specific.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

Support group helps Victoria parents navigate issues with children

Parents and caregivers offered “free, safe, non-judgmental, confidential” support

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read