Grad student aims to update local area plans

Survey is start of drive to update Shelbourne local area plan

Caleb Horn of the Camosun Community Association has led a joint survey which will lead to an updated local area plan for the CCA and Mount Tolmie Community Association.

Home from university and on a mission, Caleb Horn has helped build a survey launching this week for residents of the neighbouring Mount Tolmie and Camosun Community Associations.

The past-president of the CCA grew up in the Shelbourne area, attended Doncaster elementary and Lansdowne middle schools and carries a passion for the section of Saanich running between Victoria and Oak Bay from Derby Road to the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Horn is currently a grad student in urban planning at McGill University and at just 28 years old, he is working full time at the moment to update Camosun’s and Mount Tolmie’s local area plans, starting with the Mount Tolmie and Camosun Community Plan survey.

“It starts with the survey that will gauge just how knowledgeable [Mount Tolmie and Camosun] residents are of the local area plan and then moves to understand what people are most concerned about,“ Horn said.

Back in September, Saanich staff proposed a 13-page work plan to review and update the local area plans of Saanich’s 12 community regions. However, great portions of Camosun and Mount Tolmie were overlooked, as it relied on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan as an update for the area. But despite the time and resources Saanich has spent on the SVAP, a 30-year plan mostly dedicated to mobility, transportation and density along the corridor, it is not a proper local area plan.

“It covers less than half of the residential areas in the Mount Tolmie and Camosun neighbourhoods,” Horn said.

Other community associations were also not pleased with the proposed work plan, in particular with the timeliness of the matter. As a result, the proposal was sent back to planning for revisions.

In the meantime,  Horn has built the survey in partnership with Mount Tolmie with a goal of measuring the awareness Camosun and Mount Tolmie residents have, and their concerns.

“This gives us an opportunity to better know what our residents are thinking, and to delve into more information of what our residents might want in their community,” said Mount Tolmie president Marlene Bergstrom.

The two associations often work closely as they are combined in the Shelbourne Core LAP, which was last updated in 1998. Only Gordon Head’s LAP is older (1997), yet Gordon Head’s was first on the proposed order of updates.

“The alarms went off at that meeting because staff didn’t think an LAP is needed for Camosun. Shelbourne still needs an LAP,” Horn said.

If a developer proposes a high-density development near Foul Bay Road, they will be using an LAP that’s 18 years old, Horn added.

The discussions between Saanich and the CAA and MTCA go back to 2013 so it was a surprise, to say the least, for Horn.

“I feel the visioning plan will help us hear more about the natural environment, mobility issues we’re not aware of, but there could be some serious problems we don’t know about, perhaps seniors mobility, housing, employment,” Bergstrom said. “If there’s a dire need of a sidewalk or safety issues, we need to hear. Sometimes they are a surprise if people don’t tell us.”

The Mount Tolmie and Camosun Community Plan survey is the first of a three-stage project to update the LAPs for the two associations. Stage 2 is to hold a focused workshop(s) based on the results of the survey. Horn hopes to have the plans updated by summer.

Visit the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/mtccplan. Email mtccplan@gmail.com for questions or concerns.

 

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