Here’s our takeaways from yesterday’s “Saanich” workshop: Notice, I did not call it a “Cadboro Bay” workshop because Sylvia (we gather a head Saanich planner) stated that survey opinions on density and height of buildings would be “democratically” accepted from persons living outside of Cadboro Bay. We don’t think she was asked if these persons had to live in BC, or even in Canada, to have their views taken into equal consideration with Cadboro Bay residents. This planners’ idea of a democracy seems to be that anyone anywhere can vote on the quality of life we are to enjoy.
She further lectured that buildings did not become profitable for developers until they were over 4 stories high, and it is our fault, because the land under our houses is just so darn expensive! Our moral responsibility, in order to attract the worlds’ biggest developers, is to allow them to make the biggest profits. And the cherry on top was the promise of more amenities for Cadboro Bay, ie., a city square, surrounded by multi-story buildings where the thousands of new residents could gather together.
To be fair, we were presented with height restrictions—10 story buildings were the limit. In a spirit of compromise, a local realtor said his group felt 6 stories would be tall enough. Another young woman said her group was all for increased density, so they could afford to live in Cadboro Bay. Of course dense high-rise housing in Cadboro Bay will provide cheap rentals; just look how affordable housing is in Vancouver…
Some hapless member of our group asked why not allow both basement rentals, and garden suit rentals on existing house lots; that would provide mortgage helpers for the home owner, and 2 new rental opportunities on every current single family lot, without changing the character and natural beauty of Cadboro Bay. Why not, you ask? That would provide a ton of work for entrepreneurial local builders and their local employees and local related trades, but what it could not do is attract the richest world-wide developers because as Planner Sylvia reminds us, multi story complexes are required for their profits.
Arguments against rampant, skies the limit development of Cadboro Bay were voiced. One group said it wasn’t resident’s obligation to allow everyone who wanted to live in Cadboro Bay to live here. Others mentioned the natural beauty should be preserved, the reason anyone would want to live here in the first place; others mentioned there was no plan to improve infrastructure, the roads are already clogged…and would become dangerous for parents and children accessing the neighborhood daycares and schools. The galling thing was that many had worked on the last Cadboro Bay plan accepted a couple of years ago, which was at best used by Saanich to launch their campaign for more dense high-rise development, in a larger area of our community.
Saanich had drawings of a variety of dense housing styles, tempting Cadboro Bay to try them on for size, she could look really attractive in them! It’s Cadboro Bay’s choice: She is going to be assaulted by developers, but to lesson her trauma, Saanich planners first will allow her to choose her dress, and maybe the colour of her lipstick.
Nancy & Jerry