Our unique, narrow, winding road is in danger. Glendenning Road is about a third of a mile long and runs off of Mt. Douglas Cross Road. There are 18 residences. The Blenkinsop Valley Golf Course borders properties at the northern end of the road. It is part of the Centennial Trail. Glendenning Road is a great place to get away from the rest of the traffic and congestion in the city.
Several large trees growing where nature planted them make it a narrow road and make passing another car only possible in a few areas. Courtesy is often shown; in fact it is quite common for large trucks to back from Mt. Doug X Road to their destination on Glendenning. With only two street lights, one at each end of the road, it is beautifully dark so it is easy to see the light of a commuter cyclist. We celebrate being rural.
The path on the west side, always known as a “Bridle Path”, was maintained as such by the municipality: side bushes were trimmed and hog fuel applied as needed. Whether being ridden or walked, horses have and still do use what part of the path they can, as they go into the park. Nowadays cyclists and walkers outnumber cars on any given day.
The fire road access into Mt. Douglas Park is at the north end of Glendenning, with a small five-car parking lot beside it. There is no argument that the fire department needs access to the park and to Glendenning. An unattended fire on the mountain would spread to several neighbourhoods immediately via the tree canopy. With five cars in the lot there is enough room for fire trucks to access the street and park.
This small parking lot is the centre of the conflict because after the first five cars have arrived, the rest of the cars have been parking where ever they could, gradually turning the “Bridle Path” into overflow parking. Like other invasive species the cars multiply.
Glendenning Road itself has changed little in the 47 years we have lived here, however, change is happening on our road. This summer, “No parking” signs appeared. This caused inconvenience for park visitors and residents alike. With a full lot, visitors have to relocate. Residents have to canvas their neighbours for places for family cars.
There has been a proposal to make Glendenning Road like every other residential street, cut down trees, straighten the road, add curbing, etc. Another would have Saanich purchase two properties close to the small parking lot, which encompass over three acres and turn them into parking lots. While this would solve the parking situation and fire access it would destroy the rural beauty of this road. When you look at an overhead view of Mt. Doug Park you see that the park continues down our road, unlike the other areas that border the park. It is because of the trees beside the road and more on our properties that this ecological area hasn’t been destroyed by development: we are the transition between development and the ALR.
A tree inventory in 2005 reported 93 Garry oak, 77 Douglas fir, 17 grand fir and 16 others for a total of 203, only six of which may have been on private property.
I know change is hard, but if we think of Saanich in the next 50 years we will celebrate our green spaces and our trees more than our parking lots and cars. Like the song says, “Please don’t pave paradise to put up a parking lot.”