Metchosin resident: Increased buffer zone not enough

While some Metchosin residents remain unhappy with the proposed boundary swap, the deal has a supporter in a Metro Vancouver CAO

A buffer zone might have doubled between Metchosin’s proposed new boundary and a development in Langford, but some nearby residents still feel like they’re getting a raw deal.

The issue relates to a boundary swap announced by Metchosin, Langford and Beecher Bay First Nation in September that would allow Metchosin to keep three parcels of treaty land as parks, but also move the municipal boundary with Langford closer to Neild Road.

At council on Tuesday, several residents expressed their continued discontentment with the swap and urged council to get together with Beecher Bay and think of another solution. Ranns noted that discussions with Beecher Bay go back 20 years and that this is the best solution they could come up with.

“If there’s another way, I’d sure like to hear it, because I’ve explored every possible avenue on this,” he said.

In response to concerns raised by residents, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns negotiated an increase of the buffer from 100 to 200 metres along most of what would become the District’s northern boundary, toward a proposed Langford subdivision. The new deal would give Metchosin roughly 390 acres to be preserved as green space, including the treaty lands, while Langford would gain an extra 350 to Langford.

Shayn McAskin, who lives off Neild on Boulderpath Road, said a 200-metre buffer is still far too little when considering the noise pollution he expects will accompany the development.

“It doesn’t change everything we’ve shown to critique the thing … you’re still going to be able to see all the development on Centre Mountain (from) the heartland of Metchosin,” he said. “You’re still going to have an industrial park pushed in as far as it is. An extra 100-metre strip of parkland … it’s better than before … but it doesn’t make it a good deal.”

The previous half-acre minimum lot size for the residential development was also downsized to a quarter-acre in return for the larger buffer, after Ranns heard residents comments at an open house this month.

Ben Hircock Sr., whose property lies near the other end of Neild Road, sees no benefit to him of a larger buffer, but said it could allay the fears of residents near the Happy Valley Road end of Neild. He’s more concerned about the noise and traffic potentially generated by an industrial park proposed for just over the new Langford border.

Ranns has repeatedly said the deal is necessary to ensure Metchosin’s future as a rural community, claiming that the Beecher Bay First Nation has been clear that it plans to develop the parcels of treaty lands currently within District boundaries.

McAskin, part of a group opposed to the agreement, believes Ranns’s claims come down to “fear mongering” and says it’s unrealistic that a major development would happen in the southern parcels of land. “They’re telling us that all of these bad things are going to happen … that is one scenario and it is the most extreme scenario of what could happen,” he said.

Johnny Carline, the former Metro Vancouver commissioner and chief administrative officer who retired to Metchosin in 2012, agrees Ranns has painted a worst-case scenario. But Carline said the agreement removes uncertainty surrounding the treaty parcels for Metchosin. He doesn’t see as far-fetched the notion that Beecher Bay could develop section 95, the parcel closest to the Langford border, as medium- or high-density housing.

“I doubt (the courts would) be approving great high-rises in the middle of a rural area …” he said. “But it’s certainly a possibility that they would allow them a certain level of urban development and that would (change) the nature of Metchosin quite a bit.” Carline went as far as to call the agreement an “ingenious.”

“I give a lot of credit to the people who have negotiated this. They’ve looked at a lot of different angles and tried to solve some problems,” he said. “If you’re in a rural area, you can reasonably hope not to have urban development on your doorstep. But if you’re at the edge of a rural area, then the best you can really hope for is a decent-sized buffer … Two hundred metres, that’s not bad.”

Metchosinites will vote in a referendum on the proposal Jan. 28.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

** In the print edition of this story it was erroneously reported that Johnny Carline said “I doubt (the District would) be approving great high-rises in the middle of a rural area…” in the second to last paragraph. His quote has been corrected above.

Just Posted

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read