Published On: Monday, 25 January 2016

Esquimalt Condominium Project Moves Forward

Esquimalt Condominium Project Moves Forward

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ESQUIMALT - As of the writing of this column Council has had more than a month to review the results from the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Esquimalt Village Project (EVP) and not a word from Town Hall other than the Mayor’s “Stay tuned!” statement in her Annual Address of December 14.

Well, Esquimalt residents and businesses have been “staying tuned” since the Mayor promised to develop the prime piece of real estate along Esquimalt Road as part of her 2008 election campaign. It’s unclear as to why Council refuses to even disclose the number of qualified bids it received or give a timeframe for an announcement. So for now it’s business as usual regarding the EVP – hurry up and wait – but if something concrete doesn’t get poured soon, Mayor and Council may find that voters have “tuned out” at the next municipal election.

One project that is moving forward along our main commercial strip is a proposed 30-unit condominium at 826 Esquimalt Road. Proponent Mark Eraut of the Merdyn Group presented his plan to Council on January 4 and received approval to move forward to a public hearing. According to Eraut’s proposal, the building will offer one and two-bedroom affordable suites in a stylish, modern building that if approved will no doubt enhance the streetscape near the entrance to Esquimalt.

From an economic standpoint it’s our hope that the Eraut project will be the start of a good year for redevelopment in Esquimalt contrary to the latest numbers for 2015, which show that Esquimalt continued to buck the growth trend experienced in the Capital Region. According to the Township’s Third Period Report the total value of building permits issued during the first three quarters of 2015 was just over $9.5 million. That’s less than a third of the value compared to the same period the previous year ($30.2 million through Q3 of 2014). The total number of building permits issued is also down dramatically year over year – 85 in 2015 compared to 110 in 2014.

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On a slightly brighter note the Township did issue 19 new business licences during Q3 of 2015. That is just slightly less that the same period in 2014 (21) but it does bring the total number of businesses in Esquimalt to 692, which are 38 more than this time in 2014.

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Finally, please join us in welcoming Willow Thompson as our new Administrative Assistant. Willow began her duties January 14 and will be in the office Thursdays and Fridays (9am – 4pm). One of her top priorities will be to help the Board plan our upcoming AGM slated for this March.

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For more information on business opportunities in Esquimalt visit our new website (www.esquimaltchamber.ca) built by Kelly Darwin from Seriously Creative or you can give us a call at 250-590-2125.

- RJ Senko is a Vice-President at the Esquimalt Chamber and President of RJStrategies. He can be reached at 250-888-3534.