Construction won’t begin on the Sidney Crossing commercial development until this summer, but the tenders are out already.
Omicron Developments has an approved development permit from the Victoria Airport Authority, which controls the land on which the almost 100,000 square foot project will rest. The company’s Vancouver Island director Peter Laughlin says they have issued tenders for the civil engineering work on the site. He added while the construction industry in Greater Victoria is very busy right now, he doesn’t expect too much difficulty in finding companies to do that work. Omicron, he explained, has 20-year relationships with some of those companies and expects work to begin in the summer.
There had been reports the work would be starting this month, but Laughlin told the PNR that is not the case.
Completion date is spring 2019.
The site will have 10 buildings with a focus on bringing in a national grocery store chain, pharmacy, retail stores, medical services, restaurants, a financial institution, personal services and others. There will be 400-plus parking stalls on the 10-acre property, located across the Pat Bay Highway from the Mary Winspear Centre and the downtown core of Sidney.
Access to the site will be made via upgrades to Beacon Avenue West, a re-alignment of Sterling Way and through improved turning lanes at the highway intersection. An additional pedestrian overpass, connecting cycling paths, will be built at around the same time north of the site, at James White Boulevard. The Town of Sidney has continually sought assurances that Omicron would build the promised overpass, which had originally been sited at Beacon Avenue.
Most recently, the Town had asked the developer if it was possible to retain trees at the site, after residents spoke up, wanting them to stay. Omicron reported it wasn’t possible.
Sidney had no other concerns with the project, following a review of the development permit and updated site plans.
Laughlin said he working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on those improvements and a traffic plan to ensure vehicles can move through the area during construction. Part of the work includes a new roundabout at Beacon Avenue West and Galaran Road.
According to a Colliers Canada property lease listing, the site’s main building — with 30,000 square feet — has been leased already. Omicron has stated the largest building at the Crossing will be the anchor grocery store. The next-largest floor space available is 19,700 square feet.
The Sidney Crossing started life being called Sidney Gateway and almost since its inception, has been a target of concern among some people in both Sidney and North Saanich. The Town’s public hearing on their limited involvement on the property, drew more than 500 people.
The Victoria Airport Authority controls the property and is the regulatory body over its development. The VAA have maintained a public process with the project, involving the municipality and the Agricultural Land Reserve, even though neither of those two bodies have jurisdiction over it.