Reimagining Colwood: Commercial space for small businesses proposed to cut commutes

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A new development proposed for Colwood hopes to cut down on commutes by building workspaces on the West Shore.

Colwood small business owners, consider this: Three new commercial buildings, 135,000 square feet with a storefront on the ground level, and offices on top.

“For example a plumber who may have one or two employees but needs space to have equipment and things in place,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.

The new development is proposed for the five-acre lot that used to house Galaxy Motors across the road from the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.

The location, strategic – aimed at keeping those who live on the West Shore, working on the West Shore.

“Business owners are commuting into the core and a lot of them have approached us and said, ‘hey if you could find us a location to rent but preferably to own, we would really like to be somewhere closer to where we live’,” said Ross Marshall, a senior vice president with CBRE, who is brokering the proposal.

If the proposal is approved, the company says construction could start this summer, wrapping in late 2022.

The only sticking point as the proposal heads into its third reading at Colwood’s council is aesthetics.

“Sooke Road is really our gateway to our community, and we want to make sure that gateway is welcoming to the rest of Victoria, and supports our business as much as possible,” said Mayor Martin.

The Mayor wants to avoid the parking lot look that currently defines Sooke Road, making sure all new builds are tight up against the road, with parking instead, in the back.

Those brokering the possible deal, however, disagree.

“From a practicality perspective, business owners want their customers to be able to pull up in front of their spaces,” said Marshall.

In Colwood Council’s next public hearing on January 25, the community will be able to have their say.

Meanwhile, there are new developments on the ongoing battle to get a new mode of transportation linking downtown Victoria to the West Shore.

“I’ve heard as of yesterday the Ministry of Transportation is in discussions with BC Ferries around how to accomplish a full feasibility study,” said Martin.

A partial study has already been done which said a ferry was possible, but this full feasibility study has a price tag of $1 million pending provincial government undertaking and approval.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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