Boys and Girls Club is looking for a new space

Central Saanich council recommended their choice for location of a new facility

The Central Saanich Boys and Girls Club is a small step closer to finding a new home in the heart of Brentwood Bay.

In May, the group made a presentation to council concerning the deterioration of their facility located behind the United Church in Brentwood Bay. The facility is in a state of deterioration and needs major upgrades, but the property belonging to the United Church that the facility is on is also possibly up for redevelopment in coming years. As a result, the group is looking for a new location to build a modest facility, preferably somewhere in the heart of Brentwood they said.

On May 21, council directed Central Saanich staff to look into the possibilities available in Brentwood where a new facility could be built.

In a report presented at the June 24 committees meeting, staff outlined four possibilities for relocation of the proposed 1,400 square foot facility.

All four locations were centred around the piece of land which houses Pioneer Park, the library and cultural centre and the Centre for Active Living 55+.

The first site recommended, option A, was a piece of land next to the West Saanich School building in Pioneer Park which is zoned as park land, so an amendment would be necessary to build.

The second site recommended, option B, is a section of land directly in front of the library and the seniors centre, facing onto the parking lot.

The land is already zoned correctly and no amendments would have to be made to locate the Boys and Girls Club facility there.

Option C includes a piece of residential land in the same area that faces on to Lucille Drive and option D is a piece of land behind the library and seniors centre buildings that faces on to Rom Knott Park. Both options would have to be rezoned in order to house the Boys and Girls Club facility.

“Site C seemed the best from all perspectives for us,” said Kate Mansell from the Boys and Girls Club.

“Site B we liked but we thought there might be some safety issues with youth being in the parking lot and street because the door would face directly on to the lot. The site is also very close to other building, and the design implications might be more difficult.”

“Site B has some advantages over site D, including the zoning already being in place,” said Mayor Alastair Bryson.

He added that timing seemed like a priority to the Boys and Girls Club and that site B would be the fastest to approve since it’s already zoned appropriately.

“I [also] have some significant reservations about tying up the land [for option C},” said Bryson in reference to the land facing onto Lucille Drive which has been looked at as having potential redevelopment value for seniors housing or a community garden.

Councillors Cathie Ounsted, Carl Jensen and Zeb King also echoed Bryson’s choice for option B, but Coun. Alicia Cormier had some reservations about the library and seniors centre’s future expansion plans and if they might be hampered by the building being placed in such close proximity.

Director of Planning and Building Services Bruce Greig said that the land, although originally slated as expansion space for the two existing facilities, also has the capacity to extend on the back side facing the park should the facilities ever want to grow.

“The seniors centre, the library and cultural centre and Panorama, who all use the site, would of course be consulted,” said Greig.

Council voted unanimously to recommend the site in front of the library and seniors centre. Staff will now investigate further to see if the piece of land will be feasible for the proposed building.

“The Boys and Girls Club is an extremely valued member of our community and we appreciate all the work you do,” said Bryson at the end of the meeting.

The next meeting of Central Saanich council is slated for July 22.