The development would have transformed the northeast corner of the Victoria International Airport lands.
One hundred thousand square feet of retail and commercial space with a grocery store, retailers that offer a mix of products from technology to a pharmacy, financial and insurance services, fast food restaurants, and medical services were all planned.
But after years of planning, the development was cancelled.
In 2016, the Town of Sidney held a public hearing on the proposed development. Speaker after speaker objected, many concerned about the impact on local businesses. But council voted 5-2 in favour of the project.
Fast forward two years, the project is scrapped.
In a statement, Omicron Development CEO Bill Tucker said:
“The approvals necessary for this project regrettably took longer than any of us anticipated, resulting in a significant escalation of development costs.”
That included off-site requirements such as a new pedestrian overpass at the Patricia Bay Highway and Beacon Avenue intersection.
Sidney mayor-elect Cliff McNeill-Smith said he’s heard many residents express relief the project is cancelled.
“They are happy that it’s not going forward. Because there was a lot of concern expressed at the time. At the time that mall was approved, we didn’t know for sure if the even larger mall was going to begin development just down the road,” McNeill-Smith said.
The redevelopment of the Sandown lands in North Saanich is one of those concerns. The first tenant, a 49,000 square foot Canadian Tire, is scheduled to open in November.
“There’s been two years of uncertainty in terms of downtown businesses reinvesting in their leases, improvements, in terms of new businesses making a decision to set up in Sidney. So it’s been a difficult time,” McNeill-Smith said.
As to what’s next for the airport property, there are no plans.
“It’s just so difficult to speculate on what the future will look like. But we’ve always been a good partner in the community. And we plan to be going forward,” Dickson said.