LETTER: Cookie-cutter approach doesn’t favour residents

Despite lobbing for more than 20 years, we have each been deliberately denied our own community plan

The responsibility for the issues relating to the proposed six-storey development for the Cook Street Village do not rest with the proponent, members of the community or city staff. They rest solely on the shoulders of mayor and council.

Despite lobbing for more than 20 years, we have each been deliberately denied our own community plan, so council can continue to force on us their vision and decisions of what is best for our communities.

Mayor and council spent years creating an Official Community Plan whose broad strokes and cookie-cutter approach leave the communities of Victoria far more vulnerable than they were prior to its creation.

Without any direct consultation with the individual communities on this topic, our villages were designated as Large Urban Villages that permit the construction of six-storey buildings to line both road-sides right up to the property line, where zero setbacks are acceptable.

Why is it acceptable?

Some years back mayor and council permitted an unwritten rezoning policy, which is used by almost all large rezoning involving residential and commercial, called an SSR (site specific rezoning). This allows developers to ignore existing zones and create their own personalized one. Under an SSR they can apply to build whatever height, size, use and appearance they desire. Policies be damned and mayor and council alone decide if it’s acceptable.

Recently other property owners, accounting for a significant percentage of the village, have been approached to buy and tear down and build (SSR) under the Large Urban Village designation.

Should we just be a community by name only? What can you do? The answer is: do something. Tell a friend.

• Email mayorandcouncil@victoria.ca requesting another community mailout and meeting for Cook and Oliphant, so everybody has an opportunity to voice their thoughts on this and future developments for the village.

• Request an immediate review of the cookie-cutter approach in designating the villages of Victoria, and ignoring the importance of their individuality.

• Please, tell them why preserving the character of your village is so important.

• For further information or supporting documents, email me at VictoriaBC@shaw.ca

Your voice can and will make all the difference.

Wayne Hollohan, Victoria