Saanich resident Maia Green actually lived a lot closer to the B.C. Hydro Field in 1999 when, as an Oak Bay High student, she helped save it from becoming a 500-car parking lot. Notice Green’s pose matches that of Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes on the right, taken 20 years later. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

How the Kings Road BC Hydro field narrowly missed becoming a 500-car parking lot

Community needs to raise $2.75 million to save entire field

Inspired purely out of celebration, Mayor Fred Haynes threw his arms up in the air when posing for a news photo to mark Saanich’s $5.5 million purchase of the B.C. Hydro field between Kings Road and Haultain Street.

It was Jan. 30, nearly 20 years to the day, since Maia Green was pictured in the news – in a near identical pose – to celebrate saving the Hydro field from becoming a 500-car gravel parking lot.

READ MORE: Saanich in agreement to purchase hydro field at Kings Road for $5.5 million

“I had no idea [about the Green photo], it’s something about that greenspace that makes people throw their arms up,” Haynes said. “The gesture came from a natural celebration of council’s work to secure the land.”

It was Green’s mom Cheryl who, on seeing the photo of Haynes, alerted her daughter to the likeness of the picture of Green. At the time of the photo, January of 1999, Green was in Grade 10 at Oak Bay High and had recently founded the fledgling Oak Bay High Environmental Club (the one that started the wildly popular Bowker Creek rubber duck race and clean up). Green and her environmentally-focused friends partnered with Friends of Bowker Creek and Camosun Community Association in rallying hundreds of signatures on a local petition to cancel the plan.

The scare of a parking lot brought together groups from all three cities, Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria, as the land borders Victoria to the west along Richmond and is a block from Foul Bay Road where Saanich borders Oak Bay. Then MLA Steve Orcherton played a significant role in liaising between the hospital, Saanich and the greenspace advocates.

It was late 1998, or early 1999, when B.C. Hydro had agreed to convert the land into parking spaces. The lot would have served employees of the Royal Jubilee Hospital as the campus underwent major construction to build a $46.7 million cancer clinic and the $8 million 440-spot parkade. Trees would have been removed and gravel placed across most of the field, Green said.

“To be clear, nobody was ever against the cancer clinic,” Green said. “And as you can see, 20 years later we have a wonderful cancer clinic without a parking lot here. But it took 20 years to get this place permanently saved.”

Green remembers visiting local churches in search of parking opportunities within the vicinity of the Jubilee. Among the suggestions were a park-and-ride at the government building parking lot of 4000 Seymour Place (behind Kirby’s Source for Sports off Cloverdale).

There was also a tacit understanding that neighbours would accept the uptick in residential street parking as a trade off to save the park.

Amongst all the things Green can take credit for and celebrate, raising her arms in the photo wasn’t one of them, she said.

“Actually I didn’t want to do it. The photographer asked me to do it, it wasn’t my idea. I guess they wanted me to do something more interesting than just sitting there,” Green recalled laughing. “I wasn’t happy about it. Of all the photos we took that day, that wasn’t one I wanted picked.”

It’s all tongue and cheek for Green now. The Saanich resident teaches at Rock Heights middle school and though she wasn’t part of the upstart 2018 Save Kings Park campaign, she kept an eye on it.

The deal closes in August however, there’s a catch. Saanich council agreed on the purchase with the caveat that it would get back $2.75 million of the $5.5 million purchase through yet-to-be-determined resources.

Haynes said he hopes to attend the March 24 community meeting spearheaded by the Save Kings Park group that will strategize a community-led campaign to help raise the $2.75 million.

For now the campaign details are still being finalized at Saanich’s end, said Saanich spokesperson Kelsie McLeod.

Council’s next step will be to establish appropriate fundraising options and a process and will share an update once there is more information, she said.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read