City of Victoria councillors stopped short of supporting the latest design for the Victoria International Marina, planned as an Inner Harbour luxury yacht mooring centre along a piece of shoreline at the end of Cooperage Place in Vic West's Songhees community, pending additional information from City Staff and a request for the developer to address several community concerns.
Developer Robert G. Evans, who brought the development forward in 2008 following a successful lawsuit against the City of Victoria after politicians reneged on formerly approved plans to build a marina at the site, remains at the helm of the proposal although the project itself has been taken over by Vancouver-based Community Marine Concepts. And the latest design is now in the hands of Victoria-based de Hoog Kierulf Architects.
New changes to the scope of the project include a seven metre wide, 121 metre long uncovered paddling canal meant to extend separation from the City-owned Westsong Walkway and adjacent residential buildings. The proponent has also opted to move forward with only one commercial building offset to the west in lieu of two buildings flanking either end of the marina. As part of what it calls the Victoria Harbour Club, Community Marine Concepts plans to house a fine dining restaurant, a coffee shop and a commercial marine centre within the building's 8,200 square feet. In regards to design, the primary architectural features of the new building are a wave-patterned roof and glass walls with aluminum panel cladding.
Council has opted to send the project back to City Staff in order to gather additional project information from the applicant. In particular, Councillor Alto requested an investigation into the feasibility of widening the proposed paddling canal in order to avoid work on the City-owned seawall supporting the public walkway. Council also expressed reservations regarding the size and placement of a mandatory hydro substation and voiced preference for an alternative approach to the one proposed. Speaking as the council representative for the Vic West neighbourhood, Councillor Jeremy Loveday had mixed feelings about what he perceived to be the privatization of the public shoreline and urged the applicant to openly engage the community in that regard.
Prior to the project's return to the Planning and Land Use Committee at a future date, Community Marine Concepts will also be required to demonstrate proof of unobstructed access to 41 parking stalls required for the marina as part of the zoning. Parking remains an issue of contention between the developer and the strata council of the nearby Royal Quays development. Mr. Evans asserts ownership over 48 parking stalls in the building and plans a valet-style parking system for patrons of the commercial building and the marina. The building's strata council, however, denies Mr. Evans' claim to the stalls and remains opposed to both the valet concept and the project as envisioned. C
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