Dozens of south Langford residents are eager to put their two cents in about how Ridley Bros. Development Ltd. will rezone forested lands into a new community bordering 804 Latoria Rd. and 950 Worrall Dr.
Public consultation over the controversial piece of Langford land took place on Monday evening.
“I want to know how their plans for a potential school right beside my home will impact me,” says Yevrag Evans, a nearby resident who’s lived in Langford for two years. “I’m worried about the blasting they will have to do, as our family’s property is near a steep drop-off. They’ll have to level the entire area.”
Instead of a city-hall ‘hear all’ format, developers let attendees roam Royal Bay Secondary’s aviary to observe an updated version of their original proposal on poster boards, complete with Ridley representatives on hand.
The new proposal offers 266- or 318-home plans instead of the original 450-home development. In addition, the open green space has jumped to 40 per cent, at par with Langford’s Official Community Plan (OCP), that has designated the land ‘rural with heritage values.’.
In the new proposal, the amount of townhouses drops from an estimated 60 to 100, down to 5 or 80, depending on what alternate plan is chosen. Essentially, this cuts the original plan for affordable housing.
“I make too much money to qualify for subsidized housing, but not enough to afford ‘affordable housing’,” says Jeff Allan, a 20-something Langford resident. “I’d have to scrape all my nickels and dimes together to afford something that they now took off the table.”
Many residents pointed out their concerns for local species, including local Garry oak trees, great-horned owls, northern red-legged frogs, and sharp-tailed snakes.
“There is no mapped critical habitat from the city in this proposed development, and it’s on private land,” says Jessica Harvey, an environmental planner hired by Ridley Bros.
Notably, the provincial Riparian Areas Regulation will undergo changes expected in November, which may challenge the previous environmental assessment conducted two years ago.
Representatives say that the land surveys were conducted at a time of year when many species were in migration, dormant or in hibernation and further study was recommended.
Langford’s land-use rules call for 43-metre-wide riparian protection on the sides of two creeks, but the development is proposing 10 to 15 metres.
“I understand that there’s a demand for housing, but nature needs to have its space too,” says Cynthia Bull, a resident in the Happy Valley neighbourhood for the past four and a half years. “We first bought our place because they promised that the top end of Braeburn Avenue wasn’t going to be sold. Now, they’re bulldozing down everything.”
Residents were given the opportunity to score, on a scale of one to five, how much they support certain aspects of the new proposal. Ridley Bros Development Ltd. is expected to meet with the committee to discuss feedback on the proposal.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the city where some residents lived and the size of the rezoning parcel. We apologize for the error and any confusion this may have caused.