EDITORIAL: Project planning a balancing act for councils

Neighbourhood input can sometimes derail good projects

Planning a city’s future is not an easy task.

We admit that’s an understatement. Between municipal staff and civic politicians, many hours are spent assessing or writing proposals, doing research, discussing options, hearing from the community, and finally approving – or rejecting – residential, commercial and other projects.

Those are all important aspects along the road to progress in a city. For elected officials one of the toughest parts of making decisions is finding a balance between progress and the preservation of neighbourhood values.

The latter are often established by people who have lived or worked in a neighbourhood for some time and feel a sense of “ownership.” A feeling of home and pride of place, including pride in business ownership or even one’s workplace, is something most people don’t give up easily. So, we’re not surprised when people bristle at ideas and projects they feel tear away at that feeling.

An apartment complex in an otherwise suitable location on Burdette Avenue was rejected on a tie vote last week after a public hearing saw at least half of speakers opposed. And neighbourhood opposition continues to a large condo/townhouse proposal for the former Victoria Truth Centre property, after council twice told the developer to make revisions, then sent it to public hearing.

While public oversight is necessary and frequently helpful, we sometimes wonder if the sense of ownership in neighbourhoods actually blocks good and useful development.

We recall a Vancouver developer’s plan to remake an entire block in Cook Street Village, where a popular fish and chip restaurant, a grocery store and a wine shop operated. There was much public outcry over what would be lost “for the gain of a developer.” But two of the tenants relocated nearby and the multi-faceted development that emerged is part of the fabric of the village.

Change, especially in established neighbourhoods, is never easy. But blocking change can be the fastest way to stagnation and can prevent opportunities for others to contribute to community.

Just Posted

McClure house fire saw Victoria firefighters utilize drone for first time in live situation

Aerial device feeds intel to crews to help formulate firefighting action plans

Victoria beer leaguer turns heads as Joe Thornton doppleganger

Joe Thornton lookalike from Victoria makes it on NHL.com

Victoria says #NeverAgain in solidarity with March For Our Lives

Youth Political Commons invites public to rally against gun violence March 24 at legislature

Why are these Saanich lots still sitting vacant?

Mayfair Lanes lot still empty, 12 years later

New signage to show Victoria residents and tourists the way

Eleven new wayfinding signs use Lekwungen language to guide people from Ogden Point to the Johnson Street Bridge

Student learns the ropes at Oak Bay fire in hands-on experience

Local department crafts four-day work experience program for Reynolds student

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Charges formally laid against Nanaimo city manager

City of Nanaimo CAO Tracy Renee Samra charged with fear of injury/damage by another person

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read