HOMEFINDER: Colwood no sad second cousin to neighbour

By Arnold Lim. February 17, 2015 · 12:38 PM

Colwood is booming.

Rapid growth on the West Shore, typically attributed to Langford, has quietly come to Colwood, with eight major developments underway in various stages, including the reborn City Centre development at Colwood Corners, Royal Bay, Ocean Grove and Pacific Landing, bringing tens of millions of dollars into the municipality.

“What it shows us and shows the public is that things are actually happening in Colwood in a very big way over the next three to five years,” said Coun. Gordie Logan, the city’s land use and planning committee chair.

“The community will continue to grow, to change and mature (and that) will bring new opportunities; evolution.”

A new phase at Royal Bay is seeing construction beginning on 113 single-family homes, with 500 units in two nearby neighbourhoods already constructed and Royal Bay secondary scheduled to open for classes this September.

The Ocean Grove development (previously Aquattro) off Heatherbell Road near Esquimalt Lagoon, could see 795 residential units at full build-out, including the 88 already constructed.

At nearby Pacific Landing, a residential mixed-use development which is also home to the Coast Collective gallery, three- to four-storey condominiums are in the plans, as well as a potential hotel.

At the Westridge Landing development on Wale Road, The Legacy, a rental building with 63 two- and three-bedroom units, is nearing completion, with an 80-room Holiday Inn Express well underway next door. As well, two condominiums with 96 total units are planned for Belmont Road, townhomes and condominiums are coming to Wishart Road, and two 18-unit, three-story apartment buildings are planned for 3320 Metchosin Rd.

“(It’s all about) location, location, location,” Logan said. “(We) have large swaths of pristine waterfront, so that instantly is a massive attractive feature. Then you have the Island Highway, which runs through our city core, which is a massive draw for commercial. So that whole area is going to transform. There is the demand, the traffic, the willingness on the part of the city to move these things forward.”

Logan said a young, new and vibrant planning department staff have brought new ideas and new ambitions to the community and he looks forward to working with them to develop Colwood. He also recognizes, however, there is still a significant amount of work to be done.

“We expect the population will grow and with it, opportunity and jobs. But it will also bring some stresses as well, to the recreation system (and) the transportation system. Along with the new developments we are undertaking a lot of planning… that will help us manage some of that growth moving forward,” he said.

“The focus has been in other communities in the past years but I think Colwood will be a focus today going forward as the place to watch.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: HOW IS GROWTH IN THE REGION BEING PLANNED?

The Capital Regional District’s Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS) provides guidelines for future growth in the Greater Victoria area and sets specific targets for the various areas within the CRD, including the West Shore.

Between 2003 and 2014, approximately 28 per cent of all dwelling unit growth within the region was located within areas known as Growth Centres. Those are key locations, mainly in core areas of municipalities in which full urban services can be provided relatively closely.

The goal of the RSS is to see dwelling unit growth in those key locations increase to a more sustainable 30 per cent by 2038. Identified growth areas on the West Shore include the major centres of Langford and Colwood, and the urban centres of View Royal and Westhills.

As a way to promote more sustainable development, the CRD encourages municipalities to focus medium- to high-density residential and employment development in Growth Centres, and focus public investment on projects that support growth and enhance livability in those areas. For more, visit http://bit.ly/1Mbdy3J.

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