On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, UVic convened an extraordinary meeting of the Community Association Liaison Committee (CALC) to discuss the Queenswood property. Recently, the federal government announced a $2 billion dollar fund available to post-secondary institutions to enhance and modernize their research. UVic would like to obtain funding from this initiative to relocate its Ocean Networks department (http://www.oceannetworks.ca/) to the Queenswood property. UVic mentioned that they were considering this relocation at the CALC meeting in January, but the recent announcement of this available funding from the federal government has tightened the timeframe, as any funds received must be used by April 2018.
UVic is proposing to renovate the residence building on the Queenswood property to accommodate the offices of Ocean Networks. The department has about 120 staff, but UVic stated that typically only 40 or so are on site at any given time, as many telecommute or travel frequently. They are proposing to rezone only the footprint of the residence building and the associated parking lot. UVic has talked to Saanich about this, and Saanich is amenable to the idea.
CBRA feels that this proposal is a win/win situation for the community. It is not good to have the buildings sitting vacant, and what UVic is proposing involves a small number of people occupying the building from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. It will not result in a significant increase in traffic. Both research facilities and offices had very high approval ratings as possible uses of the Queenswood property in the survey conducted by CBRA in 2011.
Peter Kuran, CEO of UVic Properties, will be giving a short speech on this proposal at the CBRA AGM on Wednesday, May 11. The AGM begins at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:30), and will be held at Cadboro Bay United Church.