Proposed Uptown-Douglas plan aims to create a ‘new heart’ for District of Saanich

Proposed Uptown-Douglas plan aims to create a 'new heart' for District of Saanich
District of Saanich
A map showing the area of the proposed Uptown-Douglas core.

Saanich could one day have its own district core area teaming with tall buildings and a variety of transportation options.

On Monday evening, District of Saanich councillors will vote on whether or not to endorse in principle the proposed Uptown-Douglas plan, which would transform the community and create a core or main district area within the community.

Uptown-Douglas would cover a 155-hectare swath of land that includes the Uptown shopping centre, Saanich Plaza and would be made up of seven sub-neighbourhoods – Douglas-Oak Hub, Tennyson Industrial Quarter, Rudd Neighbourhood, Rutledge Neighbourhood, Mount View Neighbourhood, Nigel Valley-Municipal Campus, and Tolmie Quarter.

The long-term vision of the Uptown-Douglas is to establish a “complete community” and central gathering place that forms the “new heart” of Saanich through the creation of housing and employment opportunities, public spaces and a comprehensive mobility network.

Other goals of the Uptown-Douglas plan include building landmark multi-modal transit hub; accelerating the implementation of a rapid transit network along Douglas Street; transforming Oak Street into a central high street; developing a pedestrian-friendly community; creating a showcase of urban sustainability; conserving light industrial uses within the core; and encouraging residential growth that includes affordable non-market and market rental housing.

According to the plan, which has been under development for years,  the Douglas-Oak Hub neighbourhood is envisioned as becoming Uptown-Douglas’ core and the “heart” of Saanich, suggesting that “key” destinations such as Uptown Shopping Centre, Mayfair Mall, Saanich Plaza, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail will be accessible within minutes by foot or bike.

Meanwhile, the Mount View neighbourhood is expected to become the “nexus” of transit activity for the region and a “highly desirable community” filled with multi-unit residential developments, providing living space for families, young adults and seniors.

The Tolmie Quarter is anticipated to transition into a “centre of community activity” while the Rutledge Park neighbourhood will transform into a “location of choice” for those who want to live near shops, services and amenities.

Other areas such as The Rudd Neighbourhood, Tennyson Industrial Quarter, and Nigel Valley-Municipal Campus will experience various levels of redevelopment and improved connections, according to the plan.

Buildings within Uptown-Douglas would mainly range from eight to 12 storeys in height, however, exceptions for taller buildings could be made in certain circumstances.

The District of Saanich expects around 4,300 new residents and 5,000 new employees will move into the area over the next 20 to 30 years.

Councillors will discuss the plan at their upcoming meeting on Aug. 10.

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Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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