As a resident of North Saanich I am troubled about the rhetoric surrounding proposed urbanization/densification initiatives and the process of adopting them.
In terms of how densification is being discussed there is, in my opinion, a chorus who paint it as addressing admirable objectives including: affordable housing, work force housing, the environment, grandparents, their children and single parents. A rezoning may or may not support these objectives but my issue is that those who do not rally behind it are painted as people who support dying communities, want to shut the door on others from living here and don’t support families or the environment.
What I find most disconcerting is the generalized negative labeling of those who query, question or wish to pause or see clarification on a development initiative.
It reminds me of George Bush’s approach where an individual is defined as being either with you or if they are not, they are against you.
I believe the majority who speak out against and in support actually share similar values. But in the current poisoned environment there can’t be and hasn’t been a true and meaningful dialogue on how best to achieve shared values.
Embarking upon a path that invites discussions is truly a sure sign of a healthy community and one which I believe all North Saanich residents seek and should be embraced by their elected councilors.
If these proposals are implemented, areas demarked in the broad-brush boundaries will be open for densification and rezoning.
Neighbors may decide to join their lots for rezoning and their immediate neighbours may wish to retain the rural character they valued.
The potential for conflict within these areas is real.
This schism and divide in the community has occurred because the process is flawed. Asking for consultation, discussion, understanding and planning is not a sign of opposition to a healthy and thriving community. In fact it is the reverse.
The process of looking at how we can best support affordable workforce housing, which supports families, single parents and low wage earners has been achieved by using a chainsaw approach rather than what could be accomplished more strategically with a pair of thoughtful scissors.