Whoever said you can’t fight city hall must not have visited Cordova Bay.
A small but committed group of Cordova Bay residents managed to put the brakes on a development that appeared on the fast track to taking shape in the village.
Citta Group pulled its application last week for a 25-unit condo project on the 900 block of Doumac Avenue just as the proposal was headed to a public hearing. Council had voted 8-1 in favour of the matter going to public hearing back in November, and the project had the support of Saanich’s planning department. But the developer said issues raised by residents late in the process prompted them to schedule further consultations.
The postponement also shows the power of the press and the principle of the squeaky wheel. A pair of letters to the editor that ran in the Feb. 17 Saanich News on the eve of the hearing likely played a significant role in the project’s change of course. Christian Janssen wrote that a number of development proposals were coming before council that were out of character with the Cordova Bay neighbourhood. Janssen’s letter suggested the Doumac Avenue proposal should be considered in connection with plans for Cordova Bay Plaza. The plaza is in the midst of redevelopment plans that would see a new project that includes a grocery store, retail shops, 86-unit coneo and 320 parking spots.
Colin Millard also wrote to the Saanich News, calling for a moratorium on development in Cordova Bay Village until an integrated plan is approved.
Millard, a local realtor, estimates there is a group of at least 80 residents who share his concerns. He points out the group is not opposed to development, but feels some changes could be made to the proposals to help retain the village feel of Cordova Bay.
The group of Cordova Bay residents have succeeded in making their voices heard. The question now is whether their message can help reshape the future of the village they call home.