Despite setbacks, stakeholders are still trying to develop the land where the Masonic Hall on Goldstream Avenue sits.
A plan backed by the Goldstream Masonic Hall Association, Greater Victoria Housing Society and TL Housing Solutions to turn the building into nearly 70 units of subsidized housing, was sidelined in March after Langford council voted against the necessary rezoning. Now the masons are working on a new plan to develop the space, said Gary Robertson with the Goldstream Masonic Lodge.
“We’ve been working on a development plan now for about a dozen years and we thought we had a very good one with Victoria Housing Society,” he said. The groups had a preliminary plan, applied for rezoning and a building permit and saw the proposal turned down. “And so we’re back to square one again,” Robertson said.
Any timeline for future plans depends on how willing the city is to work with them on the project, he added.
The plans called for multiple five- and three-storey buildings to be constructed on the lodge property at 679 Goldstream Ave., with some ground floor commercial included and space designated for the lodge.
Housing society executive director Virginia Golden said they would work with the masons going forward if they and the city come to terms on other options for a project. She wasn’t surprised to see the application rejected given Langford’s move towards downtown densification and with available land scarce.
Goldstream Masonic Lodge #161 was opened in 1955.
The housing society recently completed work on a development just down the road at 330 Goldstream Ave., a six-storey rental building in Colwood that features more than 100 apartments. It also has plans to redevelop Colwood Lodge on Belmont Road into a 15-story mass timber building with approximately 120 affordable rental units.