Petition against Bayview Place development in Vic West gains steam


Developer Ken Mariash has spent years trying to develop Bayview Place on a 20-acre piece of land in the Songhees neighbourhood of Vic West.

It’s a National Historic Site, the largest collection of intact railway buildings in Western Canada, including the Roundhouse in Vic West.

Bayview One was the first phase.

It’s finished, and now the new plan for the rest of the site is for nine towers, some as tall as 28-storeys.

The renderings have been circling in the community for months, and some don’t like what they see.

Arthur McInnis lives across the Inner Harbour in James Bay.

He’s part of a group determined to convince Victoria council to reconsider the proposed zoning for the project.

He’s gathering up signatures for the petition against the Bayview Place phase two project.

“Here are some of the signed petitions we left with the city last week. We’re up about 1,150 or so,” McInnis said.

His issue with the plan isn’t the height.

“I’ve been accused of being afraid of tall buildings. I’m not,” he said. “What I’m afraid of are too many tall buildings on one site. And that’s what we’ve got here.”

McInnis and his group, StopBayviewRezoning, are trying to rally support before the project moves ahead.

Victoria council has seen the preliminary design but a public hearing date hasn’t been set.

“Nine is too much. Nine towers. So we said go back to the original plan, do that,” said McInnis. “Redevelop the Roundhouse. The heritage properties that are there, all six of them.”

Former City of Victoria councillor Pam Madoff was chair of the city’s Heritage Advisory Panel.

She was long-viewed as the city’s strongest defender of all things heritage, and fears the housing crisis may lead to the project being rushed.

“With a site as important as the Roundhouse, which if done properly, I really believe would enhance our international reputation, in terms of heritage, and also how we achieve housing, and how we achieve amenities,” Madoff said.

Mariash says he’s not concerned.

“No. Not at all. No. It’s inaccurate. It’s not relevant,” he said. “They are signing up people at the front door of places. They don’t know what they are signing. No. And they are telling people all sorts of misinformation,” Mariash said.

Council is still waiting to see an updated master plan.

Once that’s submitted, then petitioners may get their chance to officially weigh-in on a project that could be finally be nearing the finish line.

“This is Victoria, this is one of the world’s best small cities, we’ve got to keep things in proportion,” McInnis said.

READ MORE: Re-envisioned, denser Victoria Roundhouse development advanced to public consultation

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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