Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Finally it looks like there will be forward motion on the hotel after a long delay.   The TC reports that the Oak Bay council approved some zoning variances for developer Kevin Walker.

The neighbours have concerns about the changes as the whole development puts the hotel closer to the condo building to the south of the hotel.   I can understand the concerns and remember some of the owners came to the property assessment review panel to get reductions in their assessments because of the impact of the construction and then the change in the impact of the hotel on their units.

I have been waiting for this development to move forward, though I doubt it will have anything like the Snug in the finished hotel.   The location is a very good one for a high quality hotel and should be beneficial to more and higher spending tourism in the region.   It also will pull more of the tourists out of the downtown core and move them to elsewhere in the region.

The old hotel was just a little too run down and tatty to really attract the sort of clientèle that is should have.  The parking sucked.

What Oak Bay  needs to consider doing now is looking at its waterfront and seeing how it can make better use of it.   The location is a resource that should be put to much better use for the whole region.   High end retail along Beach Ave.   Allowing properties to be redeveloped into higher density but offering better public access to the water and more walkable area would all go a long way to building decent connection to the water.

Ideally Oak Bay Avenue should continue is some real way all the way to Beach.    The continuation of the village all the way to the water would be helpful.

The hotel is a first step in making changes, the council should encourage the marina to develop their parking lot.

The waterfront and our disconnect from it in so many areas of Greater Victoria has been of concern to me.   We really need to encourage better access and development along the waterfront that can not be used for industrial purposes.   Oak Bay can and should take the lead on this.
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