Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Car Dealerships on North Douglas

I am inspired to make this post because of a thread on Vibrant Victoria.

I would love to see all the car dealerships pushed off of Douglas Street. They are very land intensive and create significant dead spaces in the community landscape. The land is mainly covered in parked cars.

At the moment there is about 15.5 acres of land in the City of Victoria near North Douglas is dedicated to car sales. In Saanich there are 12 acres of land dedicated to cars sales in that area. That is 27.5 acres for car sales, this is more than the whole Dockside Green area.

With the coming changes to the the car industry, it would seem realistic to see many of the dealerships in the area close up shop. The time has come to think of what should happen with this land.

The north end of Douglas is the place where Victoria and Saanich should be encouraging the core of the city to be. There are some offices in the area already and there will be more with the new Uptown Centre (the former Town and Country). But there is a lot more that could be done.

This area is well situated to be close to large parts of the regional population, it is the obvious central hub of transit, and it is an ugly blighted area at the moment. It could so much more. I see this as very bad use of the land at the moment. It does nothing to make the entrance to the city look inviting. It also is acres of land that are not friendly to people walking or the building of community.

A comprehensive approach to rebuild the area through rezoning and OCPs could bring us so much more than what we have at the moment. It would be a chance to help recover more of the Cecilia Creek watershed and to add more green space.

At the same time I would like to see some of the areas be protected for light industrial uses and even expanding those to some of the areas that are right now parking lots. We really do not have enough decent light industrial in the region. Ideally some sort of industrial park that is something beautiful at the same time. I would see this integrating light industrial and office space. We spend a lot energy on thoughts of how we can make residential areas something more, but do not think of how to do this with industrial areas. They still remain utilitarian at best.

If the rent is reasonable and the location is good, there are various businesses that could develop in the area. Light industrial is important for a better mix of jobs in the region.
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