Bricks from Victoria airport historic building will live on

Site in North Saanich to be redeveloped for aviation industry.

There’s little left but dirt, construction materials and a pile of dusty bricks.

The Second World War-era building that once housed the administrative staff of 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron was recently demolished, but some of it will live on.

James Bogusz, vice-president of operations and development for the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA), says bricks from the structure will find new life in a monument in North Saanich.

“We have been working with Wallace du Temple and the North Saanich Heritage Commission,” he explained. “We have met a  few times and are looking to do something at Hospital Hill — the lookout area on Mills Road.”

That spot is across from the North Saanich municipal hall and was upgraded when the VAA built its Flight Path multi-use trail.

“The bricks are quite brittle,” Bogusz said. “But crews have been picking out the good ones — and we’ll use approximately 1,000 of them in the park.”

A monument is in the works, he said, but a final design is not yet ready.

It will pay tribute to the men and women who served at the airport in the late 1930s to the end of the war. The monument will also provide some history of the airport, he added.

By March or April, he continued, the VAA will seek expressions of interest from companies who want to develop concept plans for the park.

“We are hoping to add a small parking lot off of Mills Road, on North Saanich land and expand the park. But that will be worked out with the District.”

Bricks, Bogusz said, will be incorporated into the final design.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are interested in saving some of this history,” he said. “It’s paying tribute to the past.”

With the site of the headquarters building now vacant and the Department of National Defence eventually moving out of their old hangar, Bogusz said VAA will be looking for new tenants.

He said by the end of the year, most — if not all  — of the land will be handed over to the authority.

“Into 2016, we’ll look at some design changes and try to facilitate some new aviation development,” he said.

Bogusz said the property is being shopped out to potential clients and there could still be  some road or building construction in the future.

“We want it to be aviation-centric,” he said.

 

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