Search for the Keating Industrial Park on-line and the issue quickly comes into focus.
There are no testimonials to the opportunities in the area. Nor are there any press releases regarding the new and exciting businesses set to open their doors in the industrial park.
Instead one finds a plethora of properties for sale or lease, with several describing the location as convenient and one of the region’s most successful business parks.
Newly-elected Central Saanich mayor Ryan Windsor recognizes the need for action regarding the industrial park, but says he isn’t certain yet what priority the industrial park will have when council starts reviewing its strategic plan in the new year.
“There are certainly some things that need to happen there,” said Windsor. “It’s a great opportunity for us given our location and the fact that Victoria only has so much land that can be offered for this kind of activity. Let’s face it, we could and should be doing much better.”
Windsor said that the Central Saanich industrial park has far too many vacant buildings and undeveloped land.
“It’s probably time to start attracting investors who will replace some of the older properties. Some of that has already happened, but there’s a lot more that needs to happen.”
One of the major issues, according to Windsor, is the access and egress to the industrial park.
“More success in that area inevitably would lead to more truck traffic and you can’t do that without a convenient and safe roadway system to service the park.”
He said council is likely to miss an opportunity for funding for a project of that kind as the Build Canada Grant program, which might have funded a portion of the work, has an application cut-off of Feb. 19, 2015.
“It won’t happen this round,” said Windsor. “The timing is just too tight to dive into a project without a well thought out strategic plan for the area.”
He said that work to make the industrial park more successful may require Central Saanich to fund some portion of the required work, but that it would be up to council to make that decision in line with the District’s strategic plan.
“There are other sources of funding out there as well … other tools in the tool box,” he said. “We have four years to get this done.”
The strategic planning process also has to consider the surrounding community, said Windsor.
“Right now we have trucks from the industrial park travelling by Keating Elementary School. Truck traffic and little children are just not a good mix.”
— Tim Collins/News staff