A number of community members stood up and spoke at a View Royal council meeting last week opposing a HandyDART facility proposed for 2401 Burnside Rd.
Council received a report to move the current HandyDART location in the Vanalman Industrial Park to View Royal because it reached its capacity and has no room for further growth.
Mayor David Screech said there is concern about the new HandyDART location from members of council and the public.
Screech said B.C. Transit asked council for the opportunity to address the neighbourhood’s concerns and originally engaged with a small group of View Royal community members directly.
But B.C. Transit will be reaching out to a wider area of homes in the next few months.
Don Monsour, chair of the Accessible Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC), attended the meeting saying it is a vital service to Victoria and all of the regions, and change is difficult, but it happens.
A petition by a B.C. Transit project manager was also put forth at the meeting.
Candy Little, a resident of View Royal, said that the room was nearly full at the council meeting, but the committee of the whole meeting they held the week prior was standing room only, and people were flowing out into the hallways.
“Residents in this community are fired up for so many reasons,” Little said. “It was magical that so many people showed up…it was a real indicator that you can make a difference and you do have a voice.”
Little said she wanted to applaud the mayor and council for listening to the concerns of the community.
Little spotted the notice for the application for rezoning on the lot while she was walking her dog about a month ago.
Since then, she’s been canvasing the neighbourhood, along with Angela Hanes, and found many people were unaware of the issue.
She said to have an industrial proposal, with an elementary school down the road, new housing being built and newly purchased condos right across the street, is not a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Not to mention up to 115 buses that will be frequenting the area.
Two of the biggest concerns are for the environment and for traffic congestion, she said. Little said the Town has worked hard to get salmon back into the creek on that property, and diesel engines will by purged every day, idling for 30 minutes each.
She said the congestion for the Trans-Canada Highway gets backed up at Burnside Road and Watkiss Way, and sometimes it’s backed up to the Six Mile Pub, so adding potentially 90 more buses in that area between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. will increase congestion dramatically.
The Victoria Bowmen Archery Club is currently on that property, and would need to be relocated.
Little said B.C. Transit is digging its heels because of the central location and the land is provincially owned.
“It’s not the service we have a problem with, it’s the location,” Little said.
“We’re ready for the long haul here. We’re not denying that it’s an amazing service, and everyone is entitled access to public transit, it’s absolutely necessary.”