Wednesday, September 05, 2012

More Rental Units on Gorge Road - Trying to Figure Out How it Will Change the Neighbourhood

The section of Gorge Road from about Bridge to Harriet has a whole set of motels along it.  This came about because before the construction of Highway #1 to the Westshore, the Gorge Road was one of the roads into town.   People came into town and were looking for a decent place to stay but as they no longer were on the main drag, they were no longer good properties to make a lot of money from.

When I moved into this neighbourhood a bit more than 8 years ago there were 10 motels along the strip.  There are three motels along the strip that seem to be in decent condition and in the case of the Ramada it is actually really a hotel and trying to be something more upscale.  But the other seven are scarily downmarket. Since then two are gone and replaced with new buildings, one of them is in the process of becoming native social housing and now one more will be torn and replaced with a new rental building.

The old Friendly Inn is going to be replaced with a four story 68 unit apartment building with five townhouses on the site.   The project will be a mix of market and subsidized units and jointely developed by the Greater Victoria Housing Society and the Greater Victoria Rental Development Society.  The two have already partnered on Loreen Place which is the neighbouring property.  

I honestly know nothing about the Greater Victoria Rental Development Society other than they are partners on these two projects.

These two projects add needed population in this neighbourhood.  The addition of 73 more rental units on Gorge Road will likely add about 100 to 110 more people living in the neighbourhood.   To put that in terms of single family homes, it would take about 35 of them to house the same number in this area.   This would take up a total of 6.6 acres of  which 5.5 acres of private land and 1.1 is public land.   This new development achieves the same on 0.95 acres of private land and it abuts 0.25 acres of public land.  Loreen Place has added about 80 - 100 people on 0.68 acres of land.   The two developments together will increase the population by 180 to 210 people.

The fact these are rentals and have subsidized units means that likely there is a higher use of transit about the close to 200 new residents and a reasonable number of them will be children.  I think it is safe to assume 60 kids, which is close to five kids per grade though a bit higher at earlier years.  It should increase the school population of Tillicum School by about 35 kids which is more than a full class.

Other than the kids in elementary school, the rest of the residents are likely to reasonably regular transit users.   This should mean 100 new roundtrip boardings for the #8 and #11 on most weekdays.   This is enough to fill two out bound and two return buses per day.  

These 200 people will spend about something on the order of $750,000 on groceries in a year.   The closest store is the Fairway at one kilometer away on a bus route.  If Fairway gets all of the business, this would be an average close to $2000 more in sales per day.   They will not get all of it, but I suspect they will get the bulk of it.   The Shoppers Drug Mart near the Faiway should see an increase as well but not nearly as much.

I highlight some of these things to show the sort of impact the addition of 200 people into the neighbourhood will likely have.

On a final note, one benefit of the two developments I can not stress enough is the removal of two run down motels which had a clientele that made walking along Gorge Road in the evening scary.

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