Dear CBRA board members,
On the assumption that CBRA will be formally commenting on the draft Local Area Plan on behalf of residents, I would be grateful if you would consider the following issues for inclusion in the Association’s letter to Saanich. Some of these concerns were communicated earlier by residents to CBRA and Saanich’s LAP team while the plan was being prepared. It’s disappointing to see that they haven’t been addressed.
(1) Proposed height of buildings in village area is at odds with LAP community feedback.
Map 9.2 proposes a large number of 3 and 4 storey buildings in several blocks around the village centre. This bears no relation to the vision developed at Saanich’s multi-day community consultations on the LAP. The consensus reached was that the scale of Cadboro Bay would be kept low-rise and that 4 storey buildings would be avoided except for the uphill side of the village shops.
The other density options that were supported during the village charette included 2-2.5 storey townhouses, carriage homes and residential infill.
The existing Local Area Plan has a guideline (Table 7.1) that multi-residential buildings should minimize overshadowing adjacent properties. This requirement is missing in the new draft plan. Overshadowing is of interest at development hearings. It shouldn’t simply be dropped from the new LAP without consultation.
3) Laissez-faire approach to single-family homes
The draft LAP supports the continuation of very large lot minimums (1 acre and half-acre) for single-family homes in Queenswood and 10 Mile Point “as a tool to retain the area’s green character”. However, there is little to prevent the building of new monster houses or accompanying loss of vegetation and urban canopy.
There is also little to prevent architectural dissonance with neighbouring homes. Page 55 of the LAP emphasises that suggested designs are “voluntary in nature”. Municipalities are allegedly prevented by the Local Government Act from regulating the form of single-family dwellings. Why then doesn’t Saanich work with the Province to address this? Community Associations should also play a part in design protocols.
4) LAP Questionnaire bias.
The recent public questionnaire on the LAP doesn’t address the issues above. It also often lumps several topics into the same question, which will make the results hard to interpret. Worst of all, as the letter from another resident points out, there are no controls on who can complete the survey or how often.
None of these criticisms are meant to take away from the many worthwhile proposals in the LAP or the work of the Saanich staff and consultants who prepared it. Hopefully, with CBRA’s encouragement, changes will be made in the final draft to ensure that Cadboro Bay’s “low-scale seaside character”, “sensitive ecosystems” and “semi-rural feel” will actually be protected.
Cadboro Bay Resident