The story “Major rebuild in the works for Townley Lodge” in the July 20 Saanich News gives a very distorted impression of the nature of this proposed project.
For instance, the “beautiful landscaping plan” includes chopping down several 50-year-old trees, excavating right to the property line which likely will kill the neighbouring hedges and trees along Ilene Terrace, and increasing the impermeable surface area several fold. The artist’s impression sketch in the article shows a boulevard between the sidewalk and road which is not in the site plan. The figures in this picture would have to be about three meters tall to be in scale with the massive walls behind them.
This project is completely out of scale with the neighbourhood. It does not conform to the Local Area Plan (LAP). To claim that it conforms to the Official Community Plan (OCP) requires carefully cherry-picking the height allowance in the OCP while completely ignoring the constraints on the locations where this height is to be permitted.
The “extensive consultation with the neighbourhood” has consisted of a couple of open houses and some individual meetings with those expressing concerns. The first open house was incidentally held after the developer had already submitted preliminary documents to Planning where they were given the go-ahead.
The result of the consultation has thus far been a few trivial cosmetic changes which do not accommodate most of the concerns expressed. The article correctly states the fundamental concern is with the height. Concern with the overall large increase in the population on this small area flows from this inappropriate height. That the developer has made no concession to the strong opposition to the size of the project supports the conjecture that Saanich Planning is all set to issue their approval.
Normally, when a neighbourhood-destroying change to land use is contemplated for an area, planning convenes a public dialogue to revise the LAP for an area. In this case planning has instead just thrown a grenade to destroy the area.
G. D. (Joe) Young