Summary of Site Requirements for New Church & Recommendation from Joint Council

Further information can be found in the November 2019 St. Aidan’s United Church & Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church Amalgamation Proposal

Summary of site requirements

No single property, in its current configuration, meets all of the needs for our new vision

Purchasing a new site is possible, but not recommended due to the time needed to zone for church activities

Re-imagining and renovating is required to create a space for our neighbourhood to regional church vision to flourish

What do we have?What does our new vision need and Recommendation
All three sites have sufficient worship space.   Building Size: St. A’s 27,600 sqft; CBUC 13,600 sqft; GHUC 11,800 sq ft.  Worship space – for traditional and new styles   Program space for a robust, diverse, all ages program – St. A’s larger site is recommended
All 3 churches are 2 levels:  St. A’s and GHUC have sanctuary and related rooms built over a basement level; both are wheelchair accessible with elevator. CBUC is 2 level built on slab with upstairs rooms accessible only by stairs  Desirable space for partnerships (building and room configuration)   St. A’s internal layout and accessible location is seen as desirable by potential partners therefore we recommend it                
St. A’s has an accredited commercial kitchen. CBUC and GHUC both need kitchen upgrades  An accredited commercial kitchen gives more scope for community involvement as well as an ability to make and serve gatherings around food. Therefore: St. A’s site is recommended  
GHUC: Walk Score (36/100), Transit (41/100) and is somewhat bikeable (44/100). CBUC: Walk Score (41/100), Transit (44/100) with bike scoring not available.  St. A’s: Walk Score (79/100), Transit (56/100) and is very bikeable with a score of 79/100.  These scores are from the 2019 Walk Score website.  Accessible by transit & walking and biking. Based on these Walkability, public transportation and bikeability scores   Again, St. A’s site is recommended based on these scores indicating it is very walkable and bikeable with multiple and frequent public transportation  
CBUC has the most parking stalls, and GHUC has the next number. St. A’s has the least amount of parking stalls, but has additional 26 parking spots within a one block radius and 2 additional public parking lots within a 2 block radius.  Sufficient parking is part of the vision CBUC and GHUC both have larger lots.   We wonder what parking needs will be in 10-20 years as green awareness prevails.    Based on other factors, St. A’s has adequate parking  
All three sites are in the east half of Saanich, and St. Aidan’s location is closest to the centre. GHUC lies within an area where least population change is anticipated. CBUC’s is similar to GHUC, but is within a short distance from a “village” node. St. A’s is near the Shelbourne-Cedar Hill “neighbourhood centre” where more significant change and densification is expected.  Central Location in the region and population density   We recommend the St. A’s location because of increased population density and services already occurring and plans underway in Saanich to increase these
St. Aidan’s is in relatively good condition, with recent infrastructure   updating. CBUC and GHUC require more infrastructure updating.A building with few significant maintenance costs anticipated   We recommend the St. A’s site in this category  
Real Estate Values by professional appraisers show these values: St. A’s $3M as of May 2019; CBUC $2.2M and GHUC $1.8 M both as of Mar, 2016  Preserving a legacy for future generations   Recommend keeping the property with highest appraised value for future generations  
All Properties are zoned in the P1 (Public Assembly) and St. A’s is P1R (Public Assembly Restricted)The restriction is: Bingos, Casinos, and any other activity involving gambling or betting whether carried on for profit or not.  This will not be a limiting factor in the Vision we wish to live  

Recommendation:  After considering the abundance of what we have, and weighing the needs of the future, the Joint Council recommends that the St. Aidan’s site be used as the permanent site for the Neighbourhood to Regional Vision. While the St. Aidan’s site is deconstructed and renovated, the current CBUC site would be used as a temporary site.

A Congregational Q and A Gathering will be held Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 pm at CBUC to discuss the above recommendation around site selection. 

Site Selection Report

Site Selection Report to Joint Councils’ Meeting of Oct. 30th 2019

We recommend that the temporary location for the amalgamated church will be CBUC site

We recommend that the permanent location be the St. Aidan’s Site.

When the time is appropriate the Gordon Head site will be sold.

The criteria for the selection:

  • Location in Saanich
  • Land Use  and Density
  • Public Transportation
  • Walkability
  • Building Condition
  • Building Spaces/Configuration
  • Highest Value Asset
  • Parking
  • Potential off-site Parking
  • Visibility
  • OCP

Location in Saanich

The ideal location for a regional church would be at the most central point in the district (e.g. Saanich City Hall / Uptown Centre vicinity).  All three sites are in the east half of Saanich but St. Aidan’s location (shown with blue banner) is closest to the centre.


Land Use and Density

Both CBUC and GHUC are surrounded by  relatively stable, low density housing and green space.





St. Aidan’s is bordered on its north and east by stable low density housing and green space, on the south by medium density apartments, on the west, in the Shelbourne Valley by redeveloping commercial and institutional land uses.

Building Condition

St. Aidan’s is in relatively good condition, with recent updating e.g. to heating and interior finishes. It’s roof is sound for short term but will need upgrading in mid-term. CBUC and GHUC show the effects of deferred maintenance. (See Asset Management  team reports.)

Building Spaces/Configuration

Both St. Aidan’s and GHUC are 2 levels with sanctuary and related rooms built over a basement level; both are wheelchair accessible. CBUC is one level built on slab. (For detailed comparison of space use and capacities see Asset Management  team report.)


Both GHUC and CBUC benefit by siting on relatively busy collector roads with transit service. CBUC is also on a tourist scenic drive enjoying a relatively high level of landmark status.

St. Aidan’s has 3 street frontages but because all are low traffic, local streets, it has very limited public visibility except from the scenic summit of nearby Mount Tolmie Park.

Official Community Plan 2008

In terms of future land use changes and densification, GHUC lies within an area where least change is anticipated. CBUC’s shares GHUC’s traits for its immediate surroundings but is within a short distance from a “village” node where limited development is anticipated.  St. Aidan’s lies on the eastern edge of the Shelbourne-Cedar Hill “neighbourhood centre” where more significant change and densification is expected.

Plan excerpts:

“Neighbourhood Centres … provide … range of commercial and service options, primarily focused on the needs of the immediate neighbourhood.  A Neighbourhood Centre is typically served by at least two bus routes and includes a range of multiple family housing.

Neighbourhood Centres include: …Cedar Hill (intersection of Shelbourne Street and Cedar Hill Cross Road, including sections of Shelbourne Street).”

Villages are small local nodes, with a historical basis, that meet local residents’ basic commercial and

service needs. They also provide a limited amount of multiple family housing, and are typically serviced

by a single bus route. Villages include: Cadboro Bay…

“Support the following building types and land uses in Major and Neighbourhood “Centres”:

ƒ Townhouse (up to 3 storeys)

ƒ Low-rise residential (up to 4 storeys)

ƒ Mid-rise residential (up to 8 storeys)

ƒ Live/work studios & Office (up to 8 storeys)

ƒ Civic and institutional (generally up to 8 storeys)

ƒ Commercial and Mixed-Use (generally up to 8 storeys)


Support the following building types and uses in “Villages”:

ƒ Small lot single family houses (up to 2 storeys)

ƒ Carriage/coach houses (up to 2 storeys)

ƒ Town houses (up to 3 storeys)

ƒ Low-rise residential (3-4 storeys)

ƒ Mixed-use (commercial/residential) (3-4 storeys)

ƒ Civic and institutional (generally up to 3 storeys)…”

Official Community Plan Map 4 Urban Containment & Villages & Centres

Official Community Plan Map 14 Transit Network


Item4180 Tyndall Ave.2625 Arbutus Rd.3703 St. Aidan’s St.
Walkability36  Car-dependent 41 Car Dependent79 Very Walkable
Transit41 Some Transit, Bus # 27, 28,12 within .2 km44 Some Transit – bus # 11 & 13 within .2 km56 Good Transit  bus # 14, 27, 28 within .2 km
Biking72 Very BikeableNo rating79 Very Bikeable
Parks3 Sierra, Tyndall, & Blair Parks3- Benson, Arbutus, Phyllis Parks3 – Rendle Green, Horner & Mt. Tolmie Parks
Density 83% single family house, 6% townhouse, 7% apartmentApartments
Residents Feels like a Village to ResidentsFeels like

Media Advisory

December 10. 2019

                                            Amalgamating to Build a Movement for Change

Victoria, BC-   On Sunday, November 24, 2019, Cadboro Bay United Church (CBUC) and St. Aidan’s United Church voted to bring their two communities together in order to create a fresh, new approach to church in the Capital Regional District.   

“Typically, churches amalgamate because their membership is declining or their financial health is poor. But that’s not what happened here,” Cheryl Black, lead minister at St. Aidan’s stated.  “Both churches felt they could offer a lot more to the greater community and to the world, if they could re-imagine their purpose and what they might potentially offer in partnership with other community groups.  This new expression will be a regional United Church for Saanich/Gordon Head, but it will be more than that. Community hub seems to describe it best at this time.”

Just at the start of their new story together, there is much work to do and many decisions to be made. Building and staffing configuration are still to be determined but over the next three years, this progressive Christian community is confidant they will bring their vision to life. 

One small part of their vision has already been realized: the two churches have invested in a social enterprise as a means of becoming less dependent on member donations and as a way of living out their values. Just Like Family Home Care is home care for seniors, an on-going need in greater Victoria.

This new vision will include but not be limited to the following:

1) a focus on accompanying  people on their diverse spiritual paths, realizing there are many ways to experience or explore what is sacred, and that all human beings are worthy of love;  

2) an approach that welcomes everyone into this fresh expression of church life, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation,  gender expression, race, levels of income, and physical or mental challenges.  Inclusion and diversity will continue to be core values.

3) a commitment to further explore what it means to be an intercultural community of faith, as well as to walk the path of  Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.  Decolonizing our thinking, behaviours, and policies will be on-going and rigorous.

4) an emphasis on building a movement for social and ecological justice by working with diverse community partners including non-profits, artists, and others who support our vision and values.

“In a climate emergency, we need to unite behind the science and then begin the task of changing everything. And that includes institutions like churches,” Mark Green, lead minister at CBUC,suggested “With this decision, St. Aidan’s and CBUC are in a good place to do that work and shift priorities as needed. I believe this evolving regional church will play a role in our collective challenge to transform society. Climate heating is scary, but together, we can do more to mitigate and adapt to our rapidly changing world.”

140 years ago, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church planted a seed called St. Aidan’s.

60 years ago, First Metropolitan United planted a seed called CBUC. 

This initial support of the downtown churches for these two neighbourhood churches, the generations of faithful people who devoted their time and talents to sustaining them, and the financial contributions and encouragement from the national United Church of Canada, have made this bold amalgamation possible today.  We are grateful and humbled by their trust.

With this larger re-imagined church, there will be more to offer- more worship services and diverse community gatherings, more small groups to join, more opportunities for service, education and celebration.  This is good news for all who seek deeper relationships, greater meaning and purpose, and reconnection with the web of life.

For more information visit: or

Media Contacts:

Rev Mark Green

Rev Cheryl Black