The community can provide feedback on the future of the Oak Bay Lodge property. (Black Press Media File)

The community can provide feedback on the future of the Oak Bay Lodge property. (Black Press Media File)

Consultation for future of Oak Bay lodge begins

New proposal for land expected late 2021

The Capital Regional Hospital District is now accepting community feedback on the future of the Oak Bay Lodge property.

The 50-year-old building is scheduled to be demolished this year, and consultation is underway between the CRHD, Island Health, and the public on how to use the land.

The goal is to announce a proposed concept for the land including necessary rezoning.

Remediation and demolition is expected to take eight to 10 months. The 235-bed senior care facility closed in August after the last tenants were moved to The Summit on Hillside Avenue. A version of The Summit project that replaced the Lodge was originally proposed to go in Oak Bay but was rejected by Oak Bay council at the time.

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The intended use of the Lodge property is to support regional healthcare-related priorities. Public consultation runs Jan. 6 to Feb. 4. The majority of the public participation will be online starting with two online open houses, Jan. 21 and 26.

“Working with the community to re-imagine the future use of the property is a high priority project for the region,” said Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, board chair for the CRHD. “We look forward to delivering a project that considers local input and places the individual at the centre of care, supporting our long term goal for an improved healthcare facility.”

To assist the project the CRHD has also designed a 13-page “discussion guide” that outlines the purpose of the CRHD and the parameters of the intended use.

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The property has a pair of covenants on it dating back to its 1971 sale which requires it be used as a retirement home and for the public good.

The guide outlines the potential inclusion of below-market and market rental housing as additions to the proposed health care services.

First-floor commercial options are also being considered.

“If we are looking at assisted living, at a retirement home, what commercial can we include,” Blackwell said. “A first-floor pharmacy, an urgent primary care centre, or similar.”

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch has said that Oak Bay council is open to considering various housing proposals to be included on the land depending on the complete proposal. Council released a statement in July that they support the land’s use for “new health services, mixed housing, and other benefits the region so desperately needs.”

Public input will inform the planning efforts in close consultation with Island Health. Potential options for the second round of consultation are expected in the spring of 2021, says a Wednesday CRD news release.

An online copy of the discussion guide and more about the opportunities to provide feedback are available at www.crd.bc.ca/oakbaylodge.

reporter@oakbaynews.com