This conceptual rendering shows revisions to the proposed warehouse in Sidney on land under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority. York Realty, which plans to build, then lease the building, said significant changes to the the massing and height of the building respond to community feedback. Additional feedback can be submitted until June 30. (Screencap/York Realty).

Victoria Airport Authority and York Realty present “significant” modifications to Sidney warehouse proposal

Residents able to provide feedback until June 30

  • Jun. 10, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Modifications described as “significant” promise to deliver what one Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) official describes as a better product as plans for a large warehouse in Sidney continue to unfold.

“We believed in this project from Day 1 and this process has enabled us and York Realty (the company planning to build and lease the warehouse) to deliver a better product,” said Rod Hunchak, VAA’s director of business development and community relations.

The revisions impact the height and size of the building, two subjects that stoked controversy after York Realty first presented its plans in late April for the building to be located on land within the municipal boundaries of Sidney but under VAA authority.

Residents living along Galaran Road and elsewhere had criticized the building height and massing.

According to information from VAA, the massing of the revised building drops by 26 per cent from the original proposal. The overall height of the building drops to 19.3 metres at its highest point (previously almost 23 metres). Perhaps the most significant revisions happen along Galaran Road, where the building will be 11 metres tall after York Realty essentially reduced the warehouse to a single level.

This will give the building a more staggered appearance, stepping down from the southwest corner toward the northeast corner. York Realty has also promised other improvements including public sidewalks along the entire frontage as well enhanced landscaping among others.

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Matt Woolsey, general manager of York Realty, said the company always wanted to engage the community and the changes responded to the received feedback.

“We had our 40-day review (period), we got feedback and we wanted to be good neighbours,” he said. “That is what we tried to do.”

Residents have until June 30 to submit their feedback on the redesign.

“And after that, we will study what the responses are,” said Hunchak, who hopes the revisions will be seen as positive steps and will address most people’s concerns.

Hunchak added a number of processes remain underway, including discussions with First Nations. “We have some discussions concerning the infrastructure improvements…and hopefully work towards a formal agreement with York Realty.”

Woolsey said the response to the revisions from the stakeholders has been “really positive” so far.

“This is a long-term relationship that we are trying to establish,” said Hunchak. “We are talking about 50 years of presence in the community, so we want to do this right.”

Initial feedback from Steve Duck, president of the Sidney Community Association, struck a positive note.

“The redesign at first glance appears more significant than was imagined it would be,” said Duck, who still has a number of outstanding questions to be addressed. “The reduction in height at the east elevation (along Galaran Road) to 11m down from 22.76m is welcomed and the height over more than 50 per cent of the building at 15m is certainly a step in the right direction.”

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Peninsula News Review