Metchosin negotiates deal to ease resident concerns

Mayor John Ranns hopes an added buffer zone will improve boundary deal for Neild Road residents.

Following a series of concerns raised by Metchosin residents, Mayor John Ranns and the developers of a future residential neighbourhood in Langford have made an adjustment to a proposed boundary swap that also includes Beecher Bay First Nation.

Under a deal reached Tuesday, the buffer zone between the development and the properties along Neild Road would effectively double, from 100 to 200 metres, along the majority of the proposed border between Langford and Metchosin. Altogether, this would mean an extra 50 acres of green space, with roughly 30 acres lying within Metchosin.

This is in addition to the 250 acres of green space within Sections 95, 25 and 28 as part of the original proposal.

In return, Metchosin has relaxed its previous provision that lots in the development had to be at least half an acre in size, permitting higher density, quarter-acre lots instead.

“It made more sense for both of us,” Ranns said.

He originally thought the provision regarding the size of the lots would be important to Metchosin residents, but after extensive public consultation, including a packed open house event held last week inside council chambers, he came to the conclusion that a larger buffer zone between Metchosin and Langford was the more pressing concern. “I’m very happy with this because it does take some of that heat off of the Neild Road residents but it also just makes it a more comprehensive development.”

Ranns added that the long term hope is to have a trail network through that corridor connect with the Galloping Goose Regional Trail to the east and park land beyond Sooke Road in the west.

“We’re looking for continuity so this is part of a bigger plan with the whole park network.”

Keycorp Developments, which is planning a sub-division along the new Langford-Metchosin border, said the ability to make use of smaller lot sizes has some benefits when it comes to infrastructure.

“It’s more compact so it’s less impactful, and I guess it benefits us with less roadways for us to construct,” said Seamus Brennan, project manager with Keycorp.

He was present in the meeting with Ranns, along with Keycorp president Jim Hartshorne.

Still, according to Brennan, the adjustment to the deal was done mostly in response to the requests of neighbouring Metchosin residents, while also acknowledging the benefits of added green space.

“It doesn’t benefit us that much. Somebody could argue it doesn’t benefit us at all,” Brennan said. “We’ve listened to what the neighbours have to say and if that’s what it takes then that’s what we’re willing to do.”

On Wednesday, Metchosin received approval from the provincial government to have its referendum moved back in January to give the District more time to get information out to the public.

Pending council approval, the municipality’s referendum will take place on Jan. 28.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com