Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton and Russell Tibbles, president of Royal Bay Community Limited Partnership, are all smiles at the groundbreaking ceremony for the massive, multi-faceted development. A number of homes have already been completed on the former gravel pit site, which also includes Royal Bay secondary. — Image Credit: Arnold Lim/News Gazette Staff
Arnold Lim | Goldstream News Gazette
June 10, 2016
Shovels broke ground with a ceremony kicking off the creation of Neighbourhood House, a 9,000-square-foot building featuring offices, a cafe, a restaurant with views overlooking the water and more as work continues to turn the long-time quarry into local amenities.
“This will be the heart of the community for the first years,” said project director Ben Mycroft of the Royal Bay community. “As the developer we are sort of taking a step forward to really kind of seed the community with some much-needed amenities early on, so we are not waiting until there is a critical mass of people. We are putting this forward now, to create a real sense of place for Royal Bay.”
Mycroft said there aren’t currently any services located in or near Royal Bay for not only existing residents of the area but for surrounding neighbourhoods and future residents of the area. So in addition to the neighbourhood house, which will also feature a public community space, two other public amenities are on the way.
“We are currently nearing completion on what we are calling a meadow park, which is a three-acre beautifully landscaped park, with walking trails, pedestrian bridges, trees and beautiful landscaping,” Mycroft said. “It’s a neat story because it is the first greenery and life we reintroducing back into Royal Bay.”
They have also started construction of a waterfront park, which will start at the intersection of Latoria Boulevard and Metchosin Road.
A parking lot there will have steps down to the beach where the public can enjoy beach volleyball courts, a children’s park, lawn areas and, of course, the beach.
“We are opening up 1.3 km of beach to the local residents that was previously locked away behind a chain link fence,” he said.
GableCraft Homes is building the area’s first block of homes, 16 single-family dwellings set to see the first families moving in late summer or early fall of this year.
The building of Neighbourhood House is set to start in July, taking approximately one-and-a-half years to complete.
Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton said she is looking forward to seeing the new view from downtown Victoria to Colwood as the development moves forward.
“It’s exciting to see the change up from the brown and grey and dirty and dusty into something,” she said. “It’s reclaiming the gravel pit… When you look across the way you wont see the big scar across the landscape so it will be nice.”
The mayor said the extra time developers spent on the master plan has been well spent. That plan includes cycling and walking trails making the community a destination not only for those living at Royal Bay but those visiting the area as well.
“For now it is about patience because it is not a magical wand project, it’s a 15 to 20 years timeline,” she said. “With that comes the opportunity to be somewhat flexible to make sure what we need for the community is being built in the development.”