A rental housing and mixed-use development proposed for a parcel of Victoria land that has sat untouched for decades moved on to the public hearing stage following a 5-4 council vote Thursday.
The proposal for the two derelict Northern Junk buildings along Victoria’s Wharf Street waterfront would see 43 rental units go up at the site, while the buildings themselves would likely be transformed into commercial space.
The plan also includes space for the David Foster Walkway along the water, as well as access to Reeson Park right next to the Johnson Street Bridge.
The developer, which also designed the Janion Building, has been going back and forth with council on the proposal. It has already been sent to a public hearing once before.
“The benefits for the community are massive,” said John Stovell, president of Reliance Properties.
“There’s a small constituency of what I would call heritage purists whose hearts are in the right place, but at the end of the day their continued opposition to this project, even when we weren’t touching the [Northern Junk] buildings, is just starting to feel a little bit out of step with reality.”
Councillors Sharmarke Dubow, Ben Isitt, Geoff Young and Charlayne Thornton-Joe opposed sending the proposal to public hearing, while Lisa Helps, Marianne Alto, Stephen Andrew, Jeremy Loveday and Sarah Potts voted in favour.
Stovell said he thinks the public hearing would be held in June and if the project is approved, construction could start before the end of the year.