Massive 7.7-acre distribution centre proposed for Victoria airport lands

Massive 7.7-acre distribution centre proposed for Victoria airport lands
Watch A massive new distribution centre is being proposed for industrial land at the Victoria Airport. Tess van Straaten takes a look at what’s being proposed and what it could mean for the community.
A developer's rendering shows the 7.7-acre facility proposed for Victoria Airport Authority land.

A more than 486,000-square-foot distribution centre is being proposed for Victoria Airport Authority lands, but developers are staying quiet on who the tenant of the massive facility would be.

The proposed centre would be a multi-storey warehouse distribution centre with office, storage garage and parkade space, located at 9899 McDonald Park Road.

The facility would be located on an industrial-designated parcel of land, currently a vacant grass and gravel lot, north of Beacon Avenue West between Galaran Road and McDonald Park Road.

The lot itself would take up 7.7 acres of land and stand 74.7 feet, or 22.76 metres tall — taller than the Town of Sidney’s current maximum allowable height of 15 metres, though the VAA would permit it.

“For comparison, the height of the Pier Hotel…is 22.85 m,” a senior city planner said in a memo to Sidney council.

A spokesperson for the Victoria Airport Authority said it has been working with the developer for several months now.

“I think it’s beneficial both for the airport and for the region,” said Rod Hunchak. “For the airport, it certainly adds to our diversification of revenue which has been huge for us…with out traffic numbers down so significantly.”

Hunchak said the addition of the facility also builds on the airport as a transportation hub, with a ferry and highway close by.

It’ll also employ up to 150 people, something Hunchak called a “win for the community.”

He said the occupant of the distribution centre would likely be announced within the next couple of weeks.

Developer York presented its plan for the facility to Sidney council on Monday.

A rendering shows the proposed location of the distribution centre.

The Town of Sidney doesn’t have the final say over approval of the project, that decision lies to the VAA, but councillors expressed hesitation over going forward with such a large project without much public consultation.

“It’s a major change to what is there,” said Coun. Barbara Fallot. “This is something that is going to be with us and shape who we are for the future, so we have to look at this very, very carefully.”

Concerns were raised about noise and light pollution affecting residents who live in the adjacent Galaran Road neighbourhood, around 100 homes council said would be “most affected” by the development.

“That’s been a challenging element, to keep the building as dark as we can, while also keeping it safe for occupants,” said York spokesman Matthew Woolsey.

Council voted Monday to gather public feedback in order to make recommendations to the authority on traffic impacts and other concerns.

Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said the “state-of-the-art” centre would fit in well with other businesses in the industrial park, but he wants to review potential impacts on the nearby residences.

“There’s no doubt it would be good for the community from the economic impacts,” he said. “However, given the scale and location of the project we do have concerns about the impacts on a residential neighbourhood, on the traffic infrastructure and on the underground infrastructure.”

Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence
Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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