LETTER: Pause Cordova Bay development to get it right

We are writing to express our disappointment about the decision made by council regarding the Cordova Bay Plaza development. The residents of Cordova Bay worked very hard to communicate our concerns about this development.

The statistics of the spatial representation of those opposed cannot be denied. Over 70 per cent of residents oppose this development. The greatest opposition to the proposal came from those most affected, those who reside in the designated “village core.”

Cordova Bay residents want to see this site redeveloped, there is no mistaking that. However, we desire a development that respects the community, and the terms and conditions identified in the documents that were utilized to create and shape the future of Saanich. The contradictions to components of the bylaws and other documents are many. Those documents guide the development process and express the need for community consultation and respect for the uniqueness of neighbourhoods.

The planning report identified options available to council to request the developer to revise the design to better reflect the character of the community. Unfortunately this option was not chosen.

It is our opinion that a better design can be produced. We have some ideas in mind. No plan is perfect, there are too many variables. However, we believe there are other options which will alleviate many of the concerns expressed by the residents of Cordova Bay most affected. A development that is not extreme in proportion, but one that meets the needs and desires of the community with respect to housing and amenities, while maintaining the character and identity of the community. Not a generic development that should be more appropriately located in a more urban setting, closer to better public transit, amenities and employment options.

There are options available to design and build a better project, options that would provide a more desirable and relaxing residential atmosphere. The plan will help alleviate many of the traffic concerns expressed by the residents along Cordova Bay Road. The plan would provide for a variety of commercial space, a more appropriate-scaled grocery outlet, space for a restaurant and/or coffee shop, office space, medical service space or whatever could be imagined as a viable and necessary amenity.

We believe that this plan would check more boxes than what has currently been offered, and help placate many of the concerns of many in the community, while still delivering a commensurate profit for the developer.

No plan is perfect. But there is tremendous room for improvement to what has been presented by the developer.

After waiting almost two decades, is a little extra time to create a much better development not worth it?

It is our understanding that the mayor has the power to request council to review their decision. In that regard, it is our sincere hope that he will recognize that there can be a better plan, one that will benefit many more residents.

Steve and Janis Corner

Saanich

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