Re: the proposal for the Cordova Bay Plaza. I went to the open house, and talked briefly with both the architect Alan Lowe and the developer James Gardiner. I agree with the mixture of commercial buildings, shops and housing, and find the design of the buildings quite attractive. However, I have three major concerns: affordable housing, density and green space.
In a conversation I had with Gardiner a few weeks before the open house he told me that he does not plan to include affordable or rental housing. I informed him that the majority of Saanich councillors have expressed support for affordable housing at the plaza as has the board of the Cordova Bay Community Association. Increasingly, people are aware that many people, such as low-income working people, seniors, young families, cannot afford living here.
My second and third concern is the incredible density and (therefore) a lack of green space. It is designed with cars in mind rather than human social interaction.
Both the architect and the developer claim that the design gives much attention to the community aspect, which turns out to be a strip along Cordova Bay Road where we are invited to sit and converse. I guess it would please those who enjoy watching cars going by, and like traffic sound better than the human voice.
Another gesture for people to sit is a strip along the front of the south row of buildings, between it and the parking lot.
My vision of an inner court as a village green? Not so. The whole inside is designed as a parking lot. Sure, trees are drawn in and most likely will be planted here and there, but a parking lot it is.
The overall development plan leaves very little space for people to meet and gather.
I am inviting you to ask yourself if this is the kind of development you want for Cordova Bay. Does it fit in scale and density in our area? Does this plan create a village centre?
I would like to hear from you. The developer is said to be making some changes, so let us work together in an effort to get the changes we want.
You can contact me at my email: email@example.com or telephone 250-385-2299.