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Council approves new designs for Art Gallery of Greater Victoria development

The gallery’s expansion costs have risen to more than $26 million
The Greater Victoria Art Gallery has made some alterations to its original designs. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)

Victoria council voted to grant the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) a new development permit for the upgrade and expansion of its new NEXT gallery.

The 11,000 sq. ft. expansion and accompanying upgrades were originally rezoned and approved for a development permit in 2015. However, changes made in the interim were significant enough that a new development permit was required.

The most significant difference since the last proposal was a change in the material of the new upper level, which had previously been comprised of glass and steel.

In August, AGGV director Jon Tupper told Black Press Media that steel tariffs and rising construction costs made that portion less than ideal.

READ MORE: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sees delays in expansion

This meant switching from steel to brushed aluminum, and redesigning portions of the gallery expansion to no longer have windows as they would cost the AGGV more in maintenance costs due to UV light and heat management.

Changing construction costs in the meantime elevated the 2017 budget of $21 million to closer to $26 million as of August.

Most council members were in favour of issuing the development permit, with the exception of Coun. Geoff Young.

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“Look at the size of this building, if this were some computer company or a manufacturing company… and they said it needs to be a gigantic mass in the middle of a residential neighbourhood they’d be laughed out,” Young said. “Yet the art gallery, because we’re all aware of the need for a new art gallery, we’re prepared to impose this gigantic building in the neighbourhood.”

Council passed the application seven to one.

“I think this is spectacular and I can’t wait to see it built, so let’s go,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Tupper told Black Press Media in August that he hoped to see construction begin in March 2020, with a goal of opening in 2022.