Update - May 2024

Project Status update
The project team submitted the rezoning application in February 2024 and received technical review group (TRG) comments from various departments at the end of March. City staff and the project team are hosting another workshop to discuss the key comments and determine a path forward to resubmission through this iterative process; projects of this scale often take 1-2 years of staff/project team collaboration prior to going to Council. The quick response by city staff continues to demonstrate the city’s interest and support of civically oriented projects.

In parallel to the direct application work, the project team and BFTF are continuing to participate in and share Official Community Plan (OCP) engagement opportunities as the city undertakes updating this key guiding document between now and early 2025. Engaging with this plan in parallel to the rezoning application provides opportunities for some of the land use changes to be considered in the new plan, minimizing the requests through the rezoning application. BFTF encourages all parishioners and community members to be involved in the public consultation around the OCP as it seeks to meet the housing targets identified by the province in 2023 and is the guiding document for the next 10 years for all areas of the city.

Parishioners’ Meeting April 13th 2024
At a recent meeting of cathedral parishioners there were a number of questions that were asked. The following is a summary Q&A as an outcome of that meeting.

  1. Why pay for the rezoning? Why not have a developer pay the rezoning costs? Why not wait for the new neighbourhood plans?
    As per the project update, the OCP (Official Community Plan) is underway by the City of Victoria and the BFTF team are engaging in parallel to realize opportunities through that process. The BFTF steering committee has made the informed decision to collaboratively work with the city throughout both processes to best position the project, understanding that regardless of the OCP update, a rezoning process will be required.
  2. Where are we going as a Cathedral, what is the role of the Cathedral?
    A.Please read the aspirational statements of the Cathedral that were developed in preparation for the Building for the Future process HERE.
  3. What will happen to the school? Is the School part of the process?
     Please see point Christ Church Cathedral School, in January update.  

    The school has been involved in the process from the very beginning and throughout the BFTF process. They are undertaking their own specific engagement with parents and families to explore the future opportunities for the school’s long-term future on the precinct.

  4. Building for the Future will generate revenue, when would we realize revenue?
     It will start when first phase of housing is ready for occupation and build as the project is built out.
  5. Did we do a cost- benefit analysis?
     Cost/Benefit. The city, working with an agreed upon third party, will undertake, a land lift analysis to determine the future value of the precinct upon approval of the new land use and density changes. This process is a confidential one undertaken between the proponent (us) and city staff. Specific cost benefit analysis related to each development phase will take place prior to any agreement with a developer to build on the site.
  6. Why are we going through a rezoning process?
    The rezoning process will result in flexibilities for the long-term use of the site while providing certainty to internal stakeholders and the wider community about what may be realized over many years through the Master Plan. It will also result in additional land uses and densities. This assists in de-risking the political process for potential partners and providing certainty to the community that the land will remain in the hands of the Diocese. Additionally, community amenities will be retained and enhanced over the various phases of the project.
  7. Can we learn from other religious institutions? Examples- 1st Metropolitan, other cathedrals.
     BFTF has studied many churches and particularly iconic cathedrals, that have already used the process of “release of value” to sustain them into the future and to ensure their long-term ministry sustainability. 

    One of the significant reasons for the selection of FaulknerBrowns Architects as our Architect of record on this project is the fact they have done considerable work with cathedrals in various countries. Members of the steering committee are in regular contact with church professionals across the country doing similar work and there have been many lessons learned.

  8. Do we have a financial agreement?
    There is only a single owner of the Cathedral Precinct, the Diocese of BC, so no legal agreement is required. There is no plan to sell any land on the Precinct, rather leases and other agreements for partners to occupy space on the site are anticipated. One of the key aims of the project is to provide capital and ongoing operating dollars for the cathedral and diocesan ministries. The process to determine how these funds will be used has been and will continue to be collaborative.
  9. Funding- How do we pay for our ongoing ministry? (BFTF revenue)
    Conversations around financial sustainability are ongoing both for the Cathedral Parish, other churches of the diocese and all ministries across the diocese.
  10. Who owns the land the Cathedral and school are on?
    All the lands and buildings on the cathedral precinct are owned by the Diocese of BC.
  11. What happens if the Cathedral parish is no longer in the building when the development begins
    As the Deanery and other administrative spaces are being considered for redevelopment, associated administrative activities will need to relocate temporarily during a point of development. As for worship, the external work would have little impact on Sunday worship. However, as a diocese we have other places available for worship, should the need arise.
  12. Where are we in the process? Need a clear timeline.
    See image attached below.
  13. What happened to the south lawn project? What has happened to funds donated for this project?
    This pre BFTF project is being revisited, more information to come from the Cathedral Stewardship Committee.
  14. Did the Phase 2 investigations include an archeological risk/impact assessment?
    As part of the Phase 2 due diligence work, the team engaged the archaeological branch at the province and with the diocesan cultural archivist to explore the site and adjacent site for areas of historic and known potential. This has been included in the rezoning application. At a joint service on 23 June 2024, a history of the cathedral lands will be shared as a step toward understand the historic responsibilities of holding this land.