View Royal Mayor David Screech noted Christie Point has been on nine agendas where the community was allowed to provide input, including the public hearing. (Katherine Engqvist/News Gazette staff)

LETTER: View Royal mayor says Christie Point decision was the hardest he’s had to make

David Screech offers some clarity on council’s process

The final decision has been made regarding the Christie Point development in View Royal. I feel now is an appropriate time to present clarity about the process that brought us here.

It has been a difficult and divisive issue for our community. Council, and I as mayor, recognize that. It concerns me to hear residents state that they don’t feel their concerns were heard. I assure each and every resident who took the time to write or speak on the issue that your views and opinions were heard and valued by council, by me, and by the owners of Christie Point. The decision making process is a thorough and accountable one, and residents’ opinions form one part of the decision making matrix.

Other crucial input includes professional advice from staff, input from the Town’s advisory committees, input from the property owner, input from Christie Point residents/tenants, how the proposal fits within regional housing needs and policy, environmental considerations, and adherence to our official community plan.

Throughout the process council and I considered all the information presented by stakeholders. As a council we are tasked with making informed decisions, and in this case, council was divided.

Let me reiterate that all input was valued and listened to. In my 15 years of service on council, this has been the most difficult decision I have had to make. There is no possible way that everyone could be pleased in this situation but I do feel strongly that we must all agree to disagree respectfully.

Moving forward we know that building design concerns at Christie Point are paramount and we will ensure the community will be involved in the design process. We know that environmental concerns are a primary and fundamental priority and I assure you that the strictest and highest of standards will be enforced. We know that traffic on Island Highway and parking concerns are top of mind for many and I guarantee that all the commitments agreed upon will be honoured. Using dialogue with residents and taxpayers the concerns have been made clear and many changes have been made as we moved through the approval process.

Let me also say that View Royal has one of the most open policies of public participation in the region. We take pride in this. In total, the Christie Point issue was on nine agenda’s where the public was given the opportunity for input. A democratic, exemplary public engagement framework was followed and our procedural bylaw was upheld.

The parameters of that bylaw should never be confused with not wanting to hear from the public. Our procedure bylaw ensures that the meetings are respectful and orderly for all. It is the chair’s job to see that the rules at meetings are followed, and again, that should never be confused with not wanting to hear public opinion. At the end of the day public and council alike must have full confidence in the decision making process and that can only occur when rules of procedure have been upheld.

It is time now for us all to move forward and work collectively to ensure that Christie Point is a first class project in every way. I will be working with Christie Point residents, council, View Royal staff, the developer and CRD housing to ensure that displaced Christie Point residents are found accommodations.

David Screech

Mayor of View Royal