Public deserves a say in land development

When I spoke to CRD Chair Geoff Young a few weeks ago, he very eloquently outlined the need for our Juan De Fuca issues to be exorcised in the open, preferably including the public along the way.

When I spoke to CRD Chair Geoff Young a few weeks ago, he very eloquently outlined the need for our Juan De Fuca issues to be exorcised in the open, preferably including the public along the way.

He stressed that the debate over what is a ‘local’ and what is a ‘regional’ issue should be had outside of courtroom walls.

Well, so much for that.

Last week, the Capital Regional District finished the meeting it started a month ago. Voting Block A — composed of directors from the JDF and surrounding areas — voted to move right along with everyone’s favourite development proposal, sending it to public hearing. Surprisingly, some people didn’t like this.

“It is unbelievable that a proposal this unpopular could even be considered in the first place, let alone voted for,” says Dogwood Initiative’s Gordon O’Connor. “This is a clear indication that our land use decision making system is broken.”

Between the CRD’s failed overtures to Minister Ida Chong, and lobbying by the public, environmental organizations, and politicians, a frustrated desire for change has made itself painfully apparent in recent months.

Echoing this, CRD Director Philippe Lucas explains: “It would have been very easy for Block A to simply defer its decision-making responsibility on this to the CRD board, to simply listen to the public and to the opinions of fellow directors.”

But wait — the proposed amendment to the CRD’s voting structure would see land-use decisions for areas deemed regionally significant shifted from Block A to the CRD board. Why, argues Block A, should I as a resident of Victoria get involved in something so far from the scope of my daily life?

“I think that we have to look at the reality of what are regional assets and regional issues,” replies Lucas. “If the City of Victoria decided to pave over Beacon Hill Park . . . I have no doubt that regional directors would want to have a say on that.”

And so would I, just like I want to have a say in how our region — not just the area I live in — grows and changes, and how we treat what wilderness remains in the capital.

This has been tense, confusing, and most recently disappointing — but thankfully it seems far from over. M

Just Posted

FILM REVIEW: Wild creatures help tame prisoners

Robert Moyes offers up his take on The Mustang, screening at local theatres now

B.C., local shorts making waves at Pacific Rim Film Festival

CineVic’s seventh annual Short Circuit festival spotlighting films made close to home

Mathieu Poirier: Beers beat wines for pairing with food

Complexities, ingredients and styles offer more diverse choices, writes Monday beer columnist

Musical joy emerges from fiddling and singing

Joy of Life Festival at Alix Goolden Hall on May 3 and 4 offers both for audiences

Fearing is loving life in West Coast La La Land

Award-winning blues-folk guitarist singer/songwriter playing Sidney show on May 3

REVIEW: Once ‘The Foreigner’ arrives, everything changes

Funny and touching, Chemainus Theatre’s new play will leave you in stitches

Making meditative music for mental health

Calgary duo to perform in James Bay as part of Home Shall be Here tour

Peninsula Players unravel mystery for coming production

Murder on the Nile hits the Mary Winspear Centre stage in May

Just looking, or buying? You can find that perfect art piece at Sidney show

Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society holding Spring Show April 27-28 at Mary Winspear Centre

Peninsula grandmothers salute Roaring ’20s fashion

May 3 event in Sidney benefits Grandmothers Helping African Grandmothers

Most Read