Tag Archives: major centre

Target Tillicum ok with upgrades for pedestrians

Saanich Council approved a new retail giant coming to Tillicum mall in Monday night’s meeting.
CFAX July 22, 2012

Councillor Dean Murdock confirms that Target will move into the shopping centre. Murdock is pushing for better pedestrian access in the parking lot,

“Do some pedestrian improvements so that people can find their way through that parking lot which is currently, basically a wasteland to pedestrians. Once you get out of your car, it’s a real challenge to try to get to the store.”

Target will be replacing the Zellers store in the mall. Council has previously approached mall owner, RioCan about improved pedestrian access.

Accelerating planning in the Douglas corridor

Saanich teams with Victoria on gas tax funding application
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

Saanich and Victoria councils are hoping for a $1 million grant to help them plan for a new-and-improved Douglas Street corridor.

Saanich council last week unanimously supported a joint application with the City of Victoria seeking federal gas tax money from the Union of B.C. Municipalities to conduct “community planning work” on Douglas.

“The outcome for citizens is the two municipalities are working together on a project that would be seamless on land-use and transportation, and that’s obviously a good thing,” Mayor Frank Leonard said.

There is $3.8 million up for grabs through the gas tax fund, but there are no guarantees the joint application will receive a cent.

“This planning grant is what I call the jump ball file. Lots of people put in for proposals, and hopefully the best ones get the funding,” Leonard said.

He’s optimistic and hopeful the Douglas corridor project will prove regionally significant enough to attract the funding.

If it doesn’t, however, a planning process will still have to happen, albeit a scaled-down version.

“At the end of the day, the outcomes need to be the same. The planning objectives need to remain steadfast,” said Coun. Dean Murdock. “(With or without the grant), we need to plan for that corridor and look for the opportunities for environmental, social and economic benefits.”

Murdock says the challenge in issuing a joint application is that needs-wise, Saanich and Victoria are very different places when it comes to Douglas Street.

By determining the similarities and differences in terms of what each municipality is looking to get out of a comprehensive planning process, that will help shape what the process itself looks like, Murdock said.

Saanich planner Sharon Hvozdanski couldn’t say how much Saanich has already set aside to spend on the study if the grant application is unsuccessful.

“We have some money set aside for this study. Obviously given the importance of the corridor and the neighbourhoods, we would significantly benefit from additional funds to do more,” she said.

Applications were due on May 31. There is no word on when the UBCM will announce the grant recipients.

Victoria council supported the joint application at its May 24 meeting.

Saanich Voice Online looks at green roofs

Up On The Roof
P.C. King, Citizen Journalist

In earlier times the area known as Central Saanich was considered the breadbasket for what is now the Capital Regional District (CRD).

Today, the breadbasket for our region could extend to the rooftops, according to Saanich Councillor Dean Murdock. By developing rooftop gardens, communities could begin utilizing large areas of ‘empty space’. Although rooftop gardening is relatively new to the Saanich Peninsula, green roofs are not a new idea to communities around the world.

Murdock believes that rooftops are one of the best places to grow crops in Saanich. Murdock would like Saanich Council to introduce rooftop gardens as an amenity included in part of the guidelines for large-scale developments.

“We can turn acres of asphalt into green space and vegetable gardens,” Councillor Murdock stated. “Green roofs allow urban residents to grow their own food, and help reduce our carbon footprint.”

Councillor Murdock is not alone. A sustainable, food producing rooftop garden, or greenhouse, is a concept being considered all over the world.

In Montreal one company is growing crops of vegetables and herbs in a vast greenhouse built on top of an office building. In Chicago, the City Hall grows 20,000 plants (over 150 varieties) on their 20,300 square foot rooftop. The Urban Habitat Chicago (UHC) works diligently with the City Hall Planning Department before any of their rooftop projects begin. Permits are issued only for projects that meet strict standards and reflect careful architectural planning by certified structural engineers. The screening, planning, and building process is thorough… leaky condos need not apply.

(http://www.urbanhabitatchicago.org/blog/getting-started-on-a-rooftop-agriculture-project/ )
(website of Chicago City Hall) http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/doe/supp_info/city_hall_rooftopgardendesignandconstruction.html

Rooftop gardening is different from garden allotments at ground level, and is not a simple backyard vegetable patch or a weekend do-it-yourself home handyman project. However, a rooftop garden is possible for private yards and home owners and not just large development projects.

Green roofs can be installed on various types of structures, flat or sloped. Extensive green roofs require less soil (1-5 inches) where intensive roofs can be deeper and allow for more plants.

To add a rooftop garden to an existing building the support structure would need redesigning to meet the different load requirement of either an intensive or extensive rooftop garden. Local green roof expert Kevin Kersten, shares his knowledge of these issues on his website www.bcgreenroofs.ca. Kevin and Karina’s business, BC Greenroofs Consulting, was nominated for an Ecostar award in 2010 for their goal of preserving the natural environment and improving the quality of life. They assisted with the development of a small green roof on the vegetable market stand located at the Vantreight Farm.

Although installing green roofs on existing buildings may be more challenging, for new buildings the engineering and architectural aspects can easily be incorporated at the initial planning stage.

As an amenity for new developments, our municipalities are searching for ways to develop more green spaces. As suggested by Councillor Murdock, municipalities would be addressing this need by encouraging projects such as green roofs.

As Kevin Kersten points out, “It is not complicated but one must consider the things that matter—attention to detail, safety…and what it will look like in the future…with some creativity green roofs are not only for the big projects anymore. With our concept of going green, a small step at a time, you can enjoy a green roof in your own back yard.”

Rooftop gardens are not (as yet) going to displace agricultural or rural landscapes. They will not threaten the need for farmers or farming communities. The benefits include living green spaces, small scale food production, insulating properties for the building, and practical storm water management with drought-tolerant native planting.

With careful planning rooftop gardening is not far “outside the box.” Municipalities can begin working with consultants such as BC Greenroofs to initiate the future development of agricultural use of the vast empty space on your roof.

Greening Saanich rooftops

Saanich to consider encouraging green roofs for future developments
CFAX 1070 February 12, 2012

Roofs in Saanich could get a little greener, this after council supported a recommendation on considering the encouragement of including rooftop gardens on multi-family or commercial developments in the district.

Councillor Dean Murdock says the recommendation was brought forward by the Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee, and was supported unanimously.

“it was, I think, a very healthy discussion about some of the outcomes, both expected and unanticipated about including green roofs, and making sure that before we move forward we have a careful look at what the options are, what the impacts are in it, both financial and social and of course having discussion with industry experts about exactly what the conditions would be for West Coast buildings to have green roofs”

Murdock says it is an opportunity to encourage food security, by creating additional green space and growing opportunities in the community. He says there are also environmental benefits to green roofs as they capture storm water, and they help to save energy by keeping hot and cool air inside buildings.

Future green space could be up on the roof

Saanich rooftops could provide local food security
Kyle Slavin, Saanich News

Saanich councillor Dean Murdock is pushing to make rooftop gardens much more commonplace in the municipality.

Murdock, who chairs the Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee, was expected on Monday to ask for support on a recommendation to have green roofs become part of the development guidelines for multi-family residential and commercial projects.

“There are a number of benefits to it. Obviously the food security aspect of providing some growing space in an urban environment … where you’ve got a lot of concrete or asphalt,” Murdock said. “Green roofs are also great for capturing and retaining stormwater and retaining hot and cold air, helping to reduce the energy consumption of the building.”

A green roof can be either intensive (a thicker layer of soil to grow plants and vegetables) or extensive (a thin layer of soil to grow grass or light vegetation). Murdock sees the most value in an intensive green roof, which is more like a garden.

He doesn’t want to see rooftop plots as a mandatory building element, he said. Rather, he’d like to see them suggested to developers as a sustainable amenity on buildings.

Saanich already has more than a handful of buildings with green rooftops: the Social Sciences and Mathematics building at UVic has eight green roofs, while Tri-Eagle Development’s Raven building on West Saanich Road also has one.

“My hope is that this will encourage the idea that this is something that would be a benefit in Saanich, and support our values of food security and environmental stewardship,” Murdock said.

3-storey commercial building offers early preview of Shelbourne Valley transformation

Signature building to serve as catalyst for Shelbourne renewal
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

While staffers plan out the future of Shelbourne Valley – complete with dense centres and walkable villages – council OK’d what it hopes will be the “catalyst” for that change Monday night.

A small three-storey building – which will house a Vancity credit union, a medical practice and office space – will replace the single-floor dry cleaner and barbershop at the corner of Cedar Hill X Road and Stamboul Street.

Complete with renewed pedestrian walkways, geothermal heating, a green roof and a green wall, council lauded the applicant for collaborating with the community to put forward the best possible proposal.

“They don’t just have an open house and show residents this is what’s going in, they work together with the community to develop something that fits,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.

“This will stand out as the best community development in the area,” Coun. Susan Brice said. “I suspect it’ll be the catalyst to entice other property owners in the area to get moving.”

The building, which was sent to public hearing, includes a 95-per-cent parking variance. (Zoning requires 83 stalls, and only four are proposed.)

Located on the south side of Shelbourne Village Square, there already exists 107 stalls in the parking lot and traffic consultants determined peak parking demand for both the existing mall, which houses Tim Hortons, Macs and Bosley’s Pet Food Mart, and the new building would be 96 stalls. There is also space for roughly 55 cars to park on Kisber and Stamboul streets.

Councillors also commended the applicant’s transportation demand management plan, which includes widening area sidewalks, installing plenty of on-site bicycle storage, building a new bus stop on Shelbourne Street and offering an enticing bus pass program for Vancity employees.

Councillors Leif Wergeland and Judy Brownoff suggested making some design improvements so the non-green walls aren’t so “stark.”

“It’s interesting how these areas and corridors evolve,” noted Coun. Paul Gerrard, “but the one thing they have to have is a signature building. I think this’ll kickstart other buildings to equal it.”

A place to live, work, and for kids to play

Council approves daycare with rooftop playground
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

Roofs are not somewhere children should play, said two Saanich councillors last week during discussions about a rezoning request that would allow a daycare with a rooftop play area.

“I don’t think that is an appropriate place for kids to play,” said Coun. Wayne Hunter, who spoke against the proposal along with Coun. Vic Derman. “This is Saanich, not New York or Toronto or L.A – one of those downtown core areas. This is Saanich.”

However, all seven other members on council decided the daycare – along with restrictive covenants – would serve a great need in the Gordon Head community.

“I believe (the roof) is being put to a higher and better use,” said Coun. Susan Brice, referring to the applicant’s original plan to have a green roof at the soon-to-be-built 3959 Shelbourne St.

Derman, who acknowledged that daycare in the area is desirable, said his safety concerns outweighed that need.

“I’m concerned about the lack of attention to what kind of environment will be created on the roof,” he said. “We’ve basically said we’ll make it safe so they aren’t falling off the roof or if they fall on the roof, they’ll just scrape their knee. That’s it.”

Michael Levin with Praxis Architects told council that there will be resilient rubber surface on the roof to act as a better ground for the children to play on. As well, a six-foot-tall concrete parapet will be built around the perimeter to prevent the children from climbing over the ledge of the four-storey building.

Kids and Company, a Canada-wide chain of daycares, will operate the facility. Vancouver Island Health Authority will inspect and license the daycare.

Brenda Gottfried has operated Freedom Childcare Centre on View Street for 16 years. And since Day 1, a 2,200-square-foot rooftop play area that sits atop Laser City Fun Centre has been where kids play during the day.

“It’s never been an issue with parents because all of the developmental things you want to do with kids, we’re able to do,” she said. “We have a garden, we have climbers, we have tricycles, we have sandboxes, we have water play. So what’s missing? Wet, dirty ground.”

The approved covenants restrict access to the roof at only certain times of the day, and will block access to the roof to any other business (without Saanich approval) if the daycare closes down.

Linda Starr, director of sales and marketing with Kids and Company, says they have existing rooftop play areas at locations in Toronto and Calgary – all without problem.

She cites the standard high parapet, which provides safety and acts as a sound barrier, as well as plastic chain link fencing that divides the play areas for children of different ages.

“To ensure the children are properly protected from the sun, we have a retractable awning over the rooftop play areas,” she added.

As Saanich is looking to make more livable “hubs” along Shelbourne Street, approval of daycare is a step in the right direction, Coun. Dean Murdock said.

“This is something that’s badly needed, especially as we plan out our concept to work, live and play in the same place. These complete kinds of communities are what we’re looking for to encourage folks to settle in,” he said.

Brice suggested that both child and adult daycares become de facto permitted uses in these mixed-use centres that include housing and workplaces. “These are what families need.”

Building complete communities includes places for kids to play

Daycare above pub supported for Shelbourne development
Kyle Slavin, Saanich News

A new daycare centre is planned for a yet-to-be-built four-storey project behind Tuscany Village.

Saanich council agreed to rezone the property, at 3959 Shelbourne St., to include one-and-a-half floors of daycare, a rooftop play area, office space and a restaurant-style pub downstairs.

“When you look at all of the acres of rooftop we have in Saanich and this region, this is, I think, a clever solution to providing more outdoor space for a childcare centre,” Coun. Dean Murdock said.

A project like this will help Saanich move toward its goal of major urban centres along Shelbourne, he added.

“This will be a place where parents can drop their kids off so they can work in the community and have their kids in the community,” Murdock said.

Council is asking for a covenant on when the rooftop play area can be used, so as to not disturb neighbouring residents.

The proposal still needs to go to a public hearing to allow neighbours to provide input.

Proposed community recycling centre stalls

Saanich tables recycling depot proposal after neighbours voice concerns
Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

Not in their backyards… yet

The difference between a NIMBY and an impassioned group of residents hinges on the ability to justify your position.

The Royal Oak neighbourhood fell into the latter category, after somewhat successfully lobbying council to reject rezoning for a recycling facility proposal on Commerce Circle.

Councillors voted 5-3 to table the application, after a marathon meeting that saw more than 100 people cram into the council chambers and 28 speakers voice concerns over increased traffic, noise and decreased quality of life.

“If this is approved, you’ll be sacrificing our way of life for this facility, and sacrificing our community for this facility,” said a speaker who lives near the proposed site.

The Royal Oak Industrial Park on Vanalman Avenue, currently zoned for light industry, has one vacant lot, where Ellice Recycle intends to build a pay-per-use, open-air diversion facility. The use requires rezoning, because when the industrial park opened in the 1970s such operations were not on anyone’s radar – it wasn’t listed as an approved use of the site.

Coun. Judy Brownoff, who voted to reject tabling the application, said approving the facility would “erode” the decision-making process that led to the industrial park being zoned for light industry only.

“This is not about this business. This is about a commitment a past council has made about what this light industrial park should be – and it’s about quality of life,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in Saanich that doesn’t support a proposal like this … I just don’t see it (working well) on this site.”

Ellice Recycle came to council last July with a proposal, but concerns were raised then about traffic, noise and operating hours. In the new rezoning application, some of those issues were mitigated, but not enough to gain support from many neighbours or councillors.

Gary Bartlett, general manager of Ellice, which operates a similar facility on David Street in Victoria, spent much of his time at the mike clarifying misconceptions. Council took that, as well as the strong attendance of many opponents, as an indication that Ellice did a poor job explaining its plans to neighbours.

“They owe it to everyone (to host) another open house,” said Mayor Frank Leonard, calling the applicant’s latest attempt – a Feb. 2 meeting drew less than 100 people – “inadequate.”

He and fellow councillors cautioned outright rejecting the proposal, because there remains potential for an even more intrusive, noisy and vehicle-heavy project to be built there under the existing zoning, without council and neighbours having their say.

“I don’t want to look back and say, ‘what could’ve been is far worse than what we have,'” said Coun. Vic Derman. “Sometimes it’s better to know what you are getting.”

Despite the overall sentiment of councillors that Commerce Circle may not be the right location for this sort of facility, Ellice has another opportunity to engage residents in a dialogue.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any further. The issues are still the same and they will always be the same,” Brownoff said, prior to voting.

Many residents spoke highly of the need for a recycling facility like the one proposed, where the safe disposal of items including wood, steel, paint, pesticides, carpeting and appliances is possible. But the Royal Oak neighbourhood just isn’t the place to do it, they said.

“I think we need to be a little more considerate. I’m concerned, at times, that we (Saanich residents) don’t want anything near us, but we want all the benefits,” Coun. Wayne Hunter said, referring to projects like the planned wastewater and sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt. “We do need a facility like this to follow through on the (environmental) commitments we’ve made.”

Coun. Dean Murdock, who voted to table the application, said the onus is now on Ellice to make any changes they want, based on the concerns they heard Monday, and to clarify further misconceptions about its operations.

“There are lessons to be learned from this,” he said. “One is how to do proper community consultations. Two is how to make a design for this type of service work in our community. I am hopeful there are ways to make this work.”

Leonard, Hunter, Murdock, Derman and Coun. Susan Brice voted to table the rezoning application, while councillors Brownoff, Vicki Sanders and Paul Gerrard voted to reject it. Coun. Leif Wergeland was absent from the meeting.