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Rock Bay - the next master-planned development


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 10:28 PM

The cleanup of Rock Bay by BC Hydro and the feds (bordered by Government and Pembroke streets and the Upper Harbour) appears to be coming to completion seeing as much of the contaminated soil has been replaced with clean soil and contaminents shipped off. Some 30,000 truckloads have been dug up over the last couple of years, btw!

Council wants Rock Bay to become the next master-planned community, a la Dockside Green. I'm sure some councillors would appreciate the level of LEED and green features Dockside brought to the table, but what I'm more concerned about is the land use and density. My biggest beef with Dockside, although an urban devlopment by virtue of larger buildings, is its lack of density for DG could have included significantly more density and perhaps even signature buildings - i.e. signature highrises -- and much more retail/office/commercial (the lack of office space is a result of the City's fear of encroaching on downtown's office space, although the City seems to forget suburbs have already become more than ankle biters!).

I think Victoria is ready for an urban, master-planned, development that doesn't get caught up with red tape and anti-development NIMBY attitudes and does away with mistakes of the past while embracing and improving on the successes of our master-planned communities:

Songhees: sterile, lifeless district
Selkirk Waterfront: great variation in architectural styles, but density could have been much higher; no signature buildings
The Railyards: lacks density; design and scope of project impacted by NIMBY community association
Dockside Green: great on many levels, but again, lacks the sort of density seen in other urban reclamation projects from across North America; leading LEED certification

Rock Bay is a prime spot for a high-density, mixed-use development that could bring international focus on Victoria as Dockside has. It also has the potential to revive the north end of downtown and positively impact the Burnside/Gorge neighbourhood by the same stroke.

This project should be the baby of all individuals from the capital area who want to create a new urban district and believe urbanites should be at the wheel, not suburbanites or anti-development special interest groups more.
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#2 G-Man

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:38 AM

This should be an Op-Ed.

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#3 gumgum

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:44 AM

There was tal a while back about turning the whole area into social housing; which, I think would be a huge mistake. Can anybody say ghetto?

#4 G-Man

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:46 AM

Though I don't doubt that we will see some social housing there. I doubt that anyone will be coughing up enough money to make the whole place social housing.

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#5 gumgum

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:52 AM

The $. Yeah well that's what I was wondering...
A little social housing mixed in is good though.

#6 Mike K.

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 08:05 AM

The whole thing social housing? Good grief.

I've heard the Granville Island idea floated already, too (the 'nth Granville Island area for the Victoria area...sheesh).

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#7 Mike K.

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 08:23 AM

This should be an Op-Ed.


Yeah, I guess I could work on it for a bit. I actually meant this to just serve as an opening for the entire project as not much info is available on the City's site or on the web. :)

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#8 Mike K.

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:40 AM

Any news on this one? The remediation appears completed when viewed from Bay Street.

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#9 Holden West

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:55 AM

Hmm...maybe they just have to find a wide open space to bury the contaminated soil. I know! They could bury it on the site!

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#10 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:56 AM

I'd like to see Rock Bay turn into something like a cross between Dockside Green and the Concord Pacific development in Vancouver

#11 Holden West

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:59 AM

I wish I had an image of that greenways plan that was commissioned showing the waterfront potential from the Johnson St. Bridge all the way up to the Bay St. Bridge. It was pretty much as you envision it, Oxford.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#12 aastra

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:32 PM

Methinks the key is, it has to feel like downtown. It can't feel like a resort.

I think something akin to a higher density version of the Selkirk would be good. If the buildings were twice as tall with a fair bit more commercial space and the odd highrise here and there, I think you'd have a winner.

#13 gumgum

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:38 PM

Is lot 2020 still up and running?
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#14 Holden West

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:56 PM

Yes, I don't think they'll be going anywhere soon. The Ocean Cement plant just to the north I'm told only really uses half their site.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#15 Mike K.

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 01:49 PM

That's kinda cool how Store St runs right through to Rock Bay itself. If memory serves correct, Store is blocked off at Pembroke, isn't it?

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#16 renthefinn

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:28 PM

Yeah, Island Asphalt isn't moving too soon, though in the long term I think they intend on moving out to Langford. So eventually something will happen with that lot, the owner has entertained ideas before and he does have a real-estate development wing.

#17 renthefinn

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:28 PM

^^Yes

#18 G-Man

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:34 PM

I hope they do link across Store street to Bridge Street. It should at least be a pedestrian bridge across. But actually a vehicle bridge would give that area some vitality that it is lacking at the moment. I really don't see Rock Bay being developed anytime soon. Also if it is, I would be wary about any uniform development like Dockside Green going in there. I think cities grow best one building at a time rather than in giant homogenous communities. Perhaps the city can go in with a master plan and they could sell it lot by lot.

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#19 Holden West

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:38 PM

I think right now it's kind of semi-private. It was/is used for parking school buses, now I think it's used by some homeless agency? Anyway, you can see the big old gas works building to the left (the shadow of the giant smokestack is visible). This would be an interesting candidate for rehab.

[url=https://www.mala.ca/history/victoria/14c.htm:c1b78]A little about the area[/url:c1b78].
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#20 Bluster

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:19 PM

So much potential there, but it really is curtailed by the Industrial properties bordering it. I love the idea of a Granville Island type of city market and have heard talk of a waterfront walkway through to Canoe. Don't know how feasible that is given the current neighbouring land use.

I know that phase two of the Rock Bay Remediation project involves cleaning up the seabed of Rock Bay

The whole Bay Street corridor from Government to Point Ellice Bridge needs some new vision. I can't imagine Industrial is the future for that area, but until the community and council signal something different, nothing will change.

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