Integrated plan is needed for Cordova Bay

Saanich council public hearing on Cordova Bay zoning set for Tuesday

Sure Valentines has passed, but for the heart of Cordova Bay to come off life support, we are going to need the wizards and their staff at Saanich Municipal Hall, to bring their energy out on display.

The physical area of this village is defined, and there are specific guidelines. Easy stuff like how a village blends with the existing and how high its features should be, and so on. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

As a witness to the multitude of villages in the U.K., and from the village where I spent the first 30 years of my life, as soon as a piece of concrete and steel was built in the centre of our village, and called a plaza, the village heart died. No amount of life support kept it alive. The stores are now shuttered with steel every night and its vibrancy is a few streetlights.

Did you attend Saanich’s amazing planning weekend last month? This was organized by Saanich and included excellent world-renowned speakers, and also great support and enthusiasm of Saanich council and their planning and engineering departments. They spoke of so many ways to make the heart and arteries of a neighbourhood work as one.

So wizards and company, the badminton plane hangar, rezoning for the four-storey 25 condos on Doumac replacing single family homes, and the plaza are all in your hands.

Let’s give Cordova Bay Village the best in a low-key village that it deserves. This long under appreciated area has three projects at municipal hall. Yes, we need a moratorium until an integrated plan is approved.

The ‘plaza’ is 50-foot high buildings, 86 glossy condos, two levels of parkade for 320 parking stalls (who for – do the math), and a bunch of commercial space that my colleagues say will be very hard to fill – there is no market.  Then, if correct at 320, how many added vehicle movements does that produce on the quiet two-lane community bus-sized roads, with elementary children walking to and from their school.

Even Broadmead Village with its great stores, a much larger food store, pharmacy, four banks, restaurants, Canadian Tire, liquor store, etc., has only about twice this number.

In the meantime we will tear down 70-foot high Douglas firs and a maple probably planted when Emily Carr painted here in bygone summers.

Why not come to the zoning hearing at the municipal hall, Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Let us hear your thoughts. Yes, let’s get this right while we have the chance.

Colin Millard