Density knocks at Sidney’s door

Multifamily projects come to council meeting on July 3

A rendering of the proposed development at 9818 Third St.

A rendering of the proposed development at 9818 Third St.

Two high density developments could be on the horizon for Sidney.

In one, a five-story mixed use building with commercial space and 28 residential units including two below-market units is envisioned for Third Street.

The other is 500 units in four buildings west of the Pat Bay highway.

Both were discussed at Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting and would need to pass public consultation sessions and more meetings of council before being approved.

“It is large, it is significant, but we think it needs to be looked at,” Mayor Larry Cross said of the 500 unit proposal.

The early concept is slated for the current Slegg Lumber yard at 2030 Malaview Dr. and 10165 McDonald Park Rd. The family run business plans to move from that location if the development is approved. It requires an official community plan amendment, a rezoning application (from industrial to comprehensive, for high density residential) and a development permit.

“It would have a good impact on our main street,” Cross said. “The salaries currently going to Victoria and the West Shore would remain in Sidney.”

The site would produce 100,000 square feet of residential space if approved, plus nearly double that in landscaped green space.

“We believe the project we are planning can provide housing for a portion of the workforce coming to our area, plus housing for the employees that are already commuting to jobs in our area,” said Ron Slegg.

A redevelopment of the former McLarty’s Gifts and Furnishings building on Third Street would include one, two and three bedroom units. Two could be lower cost housing, as the applicant is proposing to work with Capital Regional District Housing to control costs.

“It’s in our local area plan in terms of the [official community plan], so it’s not a surprise,” Cross said. “If you look immediately to the east at the Landmark building, that’s a seven storey building and also the [Sidney Pier] Hotel is seven.”

Both projects would add density well above what is permitted under current zoning. The developer of the Third Street property proposes to add $345,000 worth of amenities in exchange for Sidney council bumping up the allowed density.

“If we don’t start looking at this seriously and do something about it, if we don’t make our town sustainable, we’re just closing ourselves down in the future,” Cross said.