Amazon is coming to Sidney.
“We are pleased to welcome Amazon to Victoria International Airport and the Peninsula,” said Geoff Dickson, Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) president and CEO, in a statement. “We would like to thank York Realty and Amazon for the vision they have shown in choosing this location with a goal to meet the growing demands of the region.”
He made that statement as VAA confirmed the approval of York Realty’s proposal to build a 115,000-square-foot delivery station on a 7.8-acre industrial zoned Victoria International Airport lot opposite a residential neighbourhood.
The announcement confirms rumours about the corporate giant coming to Sidney that had started when plans for the warehouse first appeared in the spring of 2021. Despite proddings from public officials and the media, York Realty and VAA did not release the identity of the would-be operator when first presenting the proposal and instead asked for patience.
Critics have long accused Amazon of dodging taxes, undermining the rights of workers and hurting brick-and-mortar retail – all points raised by incumbent MP Elizabeth May of the federal Greens, who earlier this spring said the public had a right to know the identity of the operator.
Site preparations will start in September with construction expected to be completed in fall 2022, according to a release. Once built, the warehouse will function as a “last mile” delivery station. Amazon orders are transported to delivery stations via trucks from fulfilment and sorting centres and once there, items are sorted, packed and loaded into delivery vehicles.
As part of the development approval process, the project was presented to the Town of Sidney for review and comment in April, with consultation extended to the general public and the WSANEC Leadership Council. The proposal was met with no small measure of backlash from the community, with concerns focused around how the overall build would fit with nearby homes and the expected increase in traffic. York Realty subsequently made significant revisions to the proposal that appeared to satisfy at least some critics.
VAA has said it will work with York Realty, the Town of Sidney, the District of North Saanich, and other stakeholders in the area to plan the design and construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Galaran Road and Beacon Avenue.
“It is our hope that, with Amazon as a sub-tenant, the new delivery station will serve as a significant economic generator for the region,” said Matt Woolsey, York Realty president, in the same statement. “More importantly, we plan on creating a building that is a first-of-its-kind in Canada, while providing landscaping improvements and amenities for the neighbourhood.”
York Realty will be working with Tseycum, Tsartlip, and Tsawout First Nations on incorporating design elements and art installations into the building exterior and landscaping design.
“We are satisfied with the commitment York Realty and Amazon have made to ensure low environmental impacts, to create a relationship with the Tseycum, Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations, and to recognize WSANEC lands and culture,” added Gord Elliott, WSANEC Leadership Council director of operations.
More information about the project can be found at victoriaairport.com/york-development.
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