The former Oak Bay Lodge building has tumbled to the ground and residents may be wondering what steps lie ahead for 2251 Cadboro Bay Rd., following two rounds of public feedback in 2021.
According to the Capital Regional Hospital District’s 10-year plan, $300 million will be allocated for the 3.9-acre lot’s redevelopment in 2023, considered a high-priority project.
A Reddit user with an aerial view of the site recently reported that the former lodge itself was fully demolished on May 30.
Unitech Construction Management Ltd. has been co-ordinating the site’s demolition and leveling since last summer, while QM Environmental worked to remove hazardous material. Jeremy Robinson, QM Environmental’s project manager for the site, said asbestos was by far the largest contaminant.
“We’re down to the final stages of the demolition,” he said, noting large cement blocks must still be removed and leveling the entire site will take about another month and a half.
The demolition was originally planned as a 10-month project, but Robinson said it’s required an extra four or five months to complete.
The CRHD board moved a motion March 9 to explore funding options with Island Health for the site and arrange plans for general rezoning. Of the board members, Mayor Lisa Helps, Coun. Ben Isitt and Coun. Jeremy Loveday opposed the motion.
“It was clear from the discussion that this property is an important opportunity to see community needs met within Oak Bay and regionally,” read a line from the meeting’s briefing notes.
A second round of public engagement during July and August 2021, conducted by Kirk & Co. Consulting Ltd., saw 295 public and stakeholder interactions via survey, email and online open house.
The September 2021 report indicated the majority of participants favoured using the site for maximized health services (60 per cent of respondents) and senior-focused health and housing services (57 per cent). The option for a mix of health and non-health services, including affordable housing, received only 28 per cent support.
Island Health recommended the site become a senior-focused community hub offering health services, long-term care housing, alternative assisted living, primary care and an adult day program.
Notes from the CRHD board meeting also listed hospice and respite services run by Victoria Hospice as a potential site use, but Victoria Hospice communications manager Jennifer Cooper said the charity was unaware of this proposition.
On behalf of the Community Association of Oak Bay, treasurer Rick Marshall told Black Press Media in an email,
“This important and rare public property in Oak Bay now available for re-development has tremendous potential to support a range of public uses that could greatly benefit the community, locally and regionally.”
He noted that more than six months have elapsed since the CRHD’s last public update on consultation for the site.
For more information on the redevelopment, visit crd.bc.ca/project/current-initiatives.
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