This version of Hither Green Park was turned down by Esquimalt council last month after residents spoke out against the design, part of the redevelopment of the English Inn. Developer Aragon Properties is currently working on a new design. Rendering by Aragon Properties

English Inn developer working on new plan for fire access lane in Esquimalt

Neighbours convince council to reject redevelopment of Hither Green Park for project

A contentious project by Aragon Properties to dismantle a beloved Esquimalt neighbourhood park has the developer back at the drawing board.

Aragon plans to renovate the English Inn and build a 180-unit condo development on the adjacent property. With an influx of residents, a new fire access lane is required and the original plan meant demolishing Hither Green, home to a toddler playground, mature foliage and park benches, for a paved route. Aragon’s design, voted down by council at a meeting last month, was presented as a mixed-use area to double as a ‘park’ and provide access for emergency vehicles.

It was standing room only as residents of the neighbourhood surrounding Hither Green Park took to the microphone expressing their objections to council.

Scott Banister, who lives in the neighbourhood with his wife and family said the community is in favour of development, but not at the expense of their quality of life, a sentiment echoed by many who spoke.

Landscape architects presented three alternate plans to explain how they arrived at using the small green space along Bewdley Avenue. But residents called it bad planning on Aragon’s part, asking them to instead use part of the grounds of the English Inn, the adjacent property they purchased.

“My twin brother and I spent many hours at that park [growing up],” Luke Ishizaki said. “I’d be very upset to see Hither Green Park get changed.”

Coun. Beth Burton-Krahn was first to suggest that Aragon find an alternative route for a fire access lane. “This is a small park, it’s a neglected park, it’s forlorn,” she said. “[But] it’s our park.”

Ishizaki’s mother and longtime Esquimalt resident, Lorraine Nygaard, gasped when council voted 5-2 to halt the project’s current plan.

“Everyone was deeply concerned within their hearts and within their own homes,” she said. “I think council finally heard loud and clear.”

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said this week that council is waiting to hear from Aragon regarding a new proposal.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Incumbent mayors in Victoria, Esquimalt retain their roles

A high voter turnout saw the mayors unchanged, but new faces on both councils

What to pack in an emergency-preparedness kit for earthquakes

Several earthquakes of Vancouver Island’s West Coast have people wondering how to be ready

Business is booming as Black Press gears up for Victoria career fair

One stop shop for questions about entering the workforce, finding work experience

Multiple earthquakes off Vancouver Island recorded around the world

Five earthquakes overnight on Oct. 21 were measured as ‘strong’

Rotating Canada Post strikes begin in Victoria

Monday’s mail will be delayed one day due to strike

UPDATE: Lisa Helps re-elected as mayor of Victoria

Nine people were seeking the mayor’s seat for the City of Victoria and 29 candidates hoped to be chosen for council

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read