UVic to sell Dunsmuir Lodge to health company

Dunsmuir Lodge could be the home of a new mental health and addictions treatment facility in North Saanich, if a proposed sale goes through.

Dunsmuir Lodge in North Saanich has stood empty since it closed in 2009.

Dunsmuir Lodge could be the home of a new mental health and addictions treatment facility, if a proposed sale goes through.

Its current owner, the University of Victoria, announced on Tuesday it has an agreement for the conditional sale of the Lodge and 25 acres of land to Homewood Health of Guelph, Ontario.

Land appraisal places the value of the lodge and land in the agreement at $7.6 million, however the final price will be confirmed later.

The Lodge, near John Dean Park in North Saanich with access from McTavish Road, has sat empty since it closed in 2009. At that time, it was a conference centre. Prior to that, the building was known as the Gillian Manor and from 1974 to 1985, was run as a treatment centre for people with alcohol and drug addictions. It was sold to UVic in 1985.

North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall said the proposed sale is good news, as the community has expressed concern for the future of the lodge for as long as she’s been mayor, approximately eight years. She said the plan to re-open the lodge as a health facility will raise concerns from nearby residents, however the potential new owners have already been meeting with District staff to discuss public input opportunities and the District’s rezoning process.

In a media release from the university, Homewood Health indicated they would be holding information sessions in the spring.

Homewood intends, states the release, to use Dunsmuir Lodge “to provide its nationally recognized, medically-based treatment services for mental health, addiction and concurrent disorders.”

UVic is also continuing its discussions with the neighbouring Pauquachin First Nation over the future of the remaining 75 acres of woodland surrounding the property subject to this deal.

The two sides have been talking about a deal of their own for years, added Finall.