Letters To the Board

Letter: Retain Cadboro Bay’s Charm

I have lived in Cadboro Bay almost all my life (that’s 63 years). I went to Frank Hobbs , Arbutus and Mt. Doug schools. I owned a business in the Village for ~30 years. I have seen some changes here. They have been soft changes and not hard to accept. The most dramatic was the condo building next to our coffee house and former bank building. It was distressing to me to have a rather pushy developer come in and tell us that he should be able to build a complex with an amount of parking that was less than Saanich bylaws mandate. I still do not know how that building was approved. We kindly asked the developer to put fewer units in so as to adhere to the Saanich bylaws. “Not in my business plan” he told me.

Well, what next? In my opinion Cadboro Bay is not suited to 3- 4 story apartment/condo and commercial buildings. The area is an area of its own style. A place with a rural feel and charm. Many have worked hard to make it that way. Saanich council is looking upon it as just another area to develop in the same manner that it allows other areas to develop. I understand the desire to house all levels of income earners, however, why would we totally change the character of this small enclave to appease that end? We are not talking about a large area. We are talking about a small, singularly unique area.

Just as we saved Mystic Vale from development, Cadboro Bay is not the place to build this sort of housing. We already have very large new highrise development happening at U-Vic – some ~800 new beds almost complete. Great. This is a very good place for such development. There is family housing there also. Again, a proper location for that use of land.Soon we will see a large condo development at the corner of Feltham and Gordon head – proposed by the builder of the 4 story condo building on Penrhyn. We will see densification of other areas along Shelbourne. Those areas are on major transportation lines and a very active roadway and some of the properties are older and run down.

Some of the locations that are being proposed on Cadboro Bay are already being densified with new homes, built at great expense I expect and some I am sure have rental suites. Enough. I am sure the United Church property will be densified one day soon. That is right next to me. No problem if there will be townhouses built there. Three or Four story condos – no thank you. Saanich mentioned providing business to the Village commercial area but has done nothing but remove parking much needed by staff members. Soon more parking will be removed with the “enhancement” of Sinclair.Yes it would be nice to see a few more businesses in the Village. Most that I would want to see need storefront, not 2nd or 3rd storey space.

I have spoken to no one that is happy with the proposed level of densification. Some that cautiously agree do so it seems out of a sense of  fairness and community obligation. No one wants to see Cadboro Bay become more like James Bay or Fairfield. I think everyone expects to see some infill, some legalization of suites in homes and backyard bungalows or “pods”. Perhaps two homes or two suites on each of the very large Queenswood properties & Site specific (CD) zoning might be acceptable.

Accommodating younger people, non-owners and people wanting to age in place is a given, 3-4 storey development is not the way to do it. The new plan is not a good plan for this area. There are areas that do not suit the type of densification proposed by this draft plan. Cadboro Bay is one of them.

Paul Cooper 

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