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LETTER: Oak Bay parks arent the place for housing projects

(Black Press Media file photo)

What’s wrong with the Carnarvon Park housing proposal – let me count the ways.

I am writing in support of Jessica Van Der Veen’s letter in the May 9 Oak Bay News opposing building housing at Carnarvon Park, or for that matter, building housing in any public park.

She makes some important points about why this suggested housing use on parkland is ill-advised. Parks are places for residents to get away from housing. They provide recreational amenities, peace and quiet areas and many other community uses.

Parks should not be used to satisfy senior governments’ unproven housing initiatives. Initiatives they surmise will build them out of Canada’s affordable housing crisis.

According to the mayor of Burnaby, senior governments keep throwing out that the more houses we build the cheaper they’ll get. He thinks they’ve been listening to developers too much. The mayor also said that he hasn’t seen anywhere in the world where that’s actually true – there just isn’t any proof.

The proposal to build housing in an Oak Bay park appears not to have been well thought out.

Few details have been provided. However, it seems the plan is for taxpayers to fund the housing project one way or another. This will include building, managing and, maintaining it. In addition, the cost of the infrastructure to service 24 housing units, according to recent reports, would require hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, up front.

Parking and traffic: The number of cars, vans and most likely some trucks, generated by the potential 28 tennis and pickle ballplayers and those awaiting court time, 66 soccer and baseball players, plus substitutes, referees and spectators, 24 renter households and visitors, splash pad users, an unspecified number of lawn bowlers at the two lawn bowling areas, a child care program and those attending community events at the new building, will overwhelm the newly planned parking spaces, with street parking already reported to be a problem.

Adding many more uses will also bring a lot more traffic to the surrounding single-family areas.

Besides not using parkland for parking, there are many more reasons not to superimpose a 24-unit housing complex at Carnarvon Park, there are better locations and housing options that would be far less disruptive.

Anthony Mears

Oak Bay