Reaction divided on Sidney Crossing development cancellation

Reaction divided on Sidney Crossing development cancellation

Incoming mayor skeptical another developer could easily pick up the project

With news of Sidney Crossing’s cancellation, opinions appear divided based on the Pat Bay Highway.

On the eastern side, small business owners are pleased the development won’t occur. On the western side, employees of the industrial park are disappointed they won’t see an increase in retail options.

The nearly 100,000 sq-ft. mall on 10 acres of Victoria Airport Authority land was slated to begin construction this year.

Muffet Billyard-Leake, owner of housewares store Muffet and Louisa on Beacon Avenue, said the mall would not affect her business because of core customers, but felt Sidney was “already over-retailed.”

“I think there are many things that could have been better than another shopping centre,” said Billyard-Leake. She suggests a higher end RV park because there is currently nowhere close to park them, and she said they have more luggage space than air travellers. She said Sidney could use a small home accessories store, an independent butcher, or a fabrics store.

RELATED: Sidney Crossing cancelled due to construction costs

Gordon Benn, president of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber had wondered about the project because nothing was happening. With members on both sides of the issue, the Chamber did not take a position on the development. Some businesses they represent felt the mall would draw customers away from Beacon, but others felt it would have positive spillover effects. Benn is personally disappointed the mall did not go forward because of the jobs it would have created.

“They have to live somewhere, go to the grocery store, typically business is good for the [Town]. … You have to have some activity to keep a vibrant community,” said Benn. “If you bring money into the community, it just helps that sort of stuff.”

Benn said he would support a future developer looking to build on the site. “I think it just cries out for it.”

Incoming mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith, who also owns Tanner’s Books in Sidney, said the cancellation was likely best given current circumstances. In the two years since the project’s approval, he said there has been uncertainty for owners in the downtown business district who were unsure about renewing their leases or expanding. Prospective business owners might have been turned off by risk a competitor would open in the mall.

“You have [100,000] sq. ft. of new mall announcing they are opening at some point, yet you don’t know any of the tenant businesses that will be opening,” said McNeil-Smith.

He has also heard that employees of Sidney’s west side industrial area are looking for more retail outlets and wants to continue good relations between Sidney and the VAA, which has a mandate to develop airport lands.

McNeil-Smith said his ownership of the bookstore did not factor into his view of Sidney Crossing as mayor. He said if Omicron, a successful developer in Western Canada, did not proceed due to cost increases of the mall and infrastructure changes, he expressed some skepticism that another developer could easily pick up where they left off.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Oak Bay High students Mimi Hill and Aine O’Donnell run along the Jack Wallace Memorial Track. The old track is due to be resurfaced. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay track resurfacing delayed

Oak Bay commits $50,000 towards renewed Jack Wallace track

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

The Oak Bay Police Department has announced plans to purchase the municipality’s first electric marked police vehicle. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Electric police vehicle could soon be patroling Oak Bay streets

Oak Bay police plan to purchase first marked electric police vehicle in 2021

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read