Sidney may revive trolley project first associated with the Sidney Crossing (formerly Gateway) commercial development proposed for the southeast corner of Beacon Avenue on the westside side of Highway 17. (Omicron Developments rendering)

Sidney may ring up trolley project again

Trolley idea linking Sidney’s westside with downtown core first appeared with failed Gateway project

Previous plans to connect two distinct parts of Sidney may get a second run in the future.

Sidney’s financial plan for 2020-2024 calls for the hiring of a transit consultant to assist with planning and analysis for a pilot trolley service to connect downtown Sidney with the municipality’s west side in 2022 at a cost of $20,000. The item itself did not come up during Monday’s budget discussions, set to resume Feb. 18.

The idea of a trolley service first appeared in connection with the proposed, since-shelved Gateway project, a $35-million shopping centre proposed on land owned by the Victoria Airport Authority on the southeast corner of Beacon Avenue, west of Highway 17.

The development, which gained council’s approval in September 2016 despite considerable opposition from downtown merchants and other residents, would have become the largest shopping centre on the Saanich Peninsula, but failed to launch. Citing escalating construction costs, Omicron cancelled the project in October 2018.

Sidney’s interest in the idea of a trolley dates back to at least June 2016, following a letter from the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society, in which the society suggested a trolley service connecting the proposed Gateway development with Sidney’s downtown in a manner similar to a service operating at the time in Langford as way to mitigate fears that the new centre would undermine downtown merchants.

RELATED: Retail development Sidney Crossing cancelled due to construction costs

“Such a trolley would help to unify the two Sidney shopping districts and would serve as an attractive, unique experience for visitors and residents alike,” said Susan Simosko, then president and chair of Sidney Business Improvement Area Society. “We urge [council] to request that the proponent, either alone or in collaboration with the VAA [Victoria Airport Authority], build this into the development design and offerings as a way of ‘giving back to the community.’”

Coun. Peter Wainright picked up on this proposal in July 2016, when he proposed a motion asking staff to bring forward a “report and budget proposal for a trolley service pilot project” for the year in which Gateway was to open and that staff consider appropriate locations for trolley stops in the development of Sidney’s West Side local area plan and the final plans for the Gateway development.

RELATED: Langford cancels Langtoria Greenline and trolley amid low ridership

Writing in a report to council, Wainwright estimated the first-year cost of the pilot project would be $100,000 to $120,000 for the trolley operation and $20,000 in terms of startup costs.

“It is suggested that the proposed trolley service would mitigate some of the negative effects of the proposed Gateway development on our downtown as well as providing an amenity of benefit to our industrial area and visiting boaters,” said Wainwright. “If council sees merit in the proposal it is suggested that at an appropriate time, staff consult with the SBIA and Sidney-North Saanich Industrial Group about the proposed route and schedule.”

Councillors unanimously approved Wainwright’s motion, but a council resolution in early 2017 tabled the project until 2018, the same year the Gateway project — then under the name of Sidney Crossings — died.

Langford also cancelled its trolley line, run as a public-private partnership with Wilsons Transportation, in May 2017 because of low ridership figures.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay’s first heritage conservation area is in the books

Councillor excited to see how HCA protects character of The Prospect

Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal

‘Save Craigflower Creek’ has gathered over 1,000 signatures within a week

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Athletes gear up for Pan Am XC Cup at Bear Mountain Saturday

This is the first time Canada is hosting the championships

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read