Destruction of Watkiss Way forest disappointing

View Royal resident worries about future of wetlands

There were once better options for the forest and wetlands across from Victoria General Hospital on Watkiss Way. Options far better than its wholesale destruction.

It could have been a park. There was plenty of interest in seeing this happen, but Saanich council never bothered to meet with people who had a plan to turn it into a park.

The last time it was due to a technicality.  And none of the proposals saw the light of day at the Capital Regional District.

The land was up for sale for five years. That’s a long time to address the question of its best use. But nothing happened.

Then it was sold to multi-millionaire Allen Vandekerkhove. He proposed building a sewage plant on it. I live nearby and I wouldn’t have been pleased, but that would have been a far better alternative, as it would have preserved the better part of the forest. Saanich council never even bothered to come to the site to look around.

So now, Vandekerkhove is turning the marshy, rocky terrain into a hay field. “Normal farming practice,” according to one Saanich councillor.

I understand that. Meanwhile, there are fewer natural spaces for my children to enjoy, and what little wetland remains will be under threat from erosion and run-off.

As I live in View Royal, Saanich mayor and council don’t have to answer to me. I simply wanted to let them know how I feel as I sit and listen to the chainsaws buzzing and the trees falling outside my office window. I’m disappointed.

Mathieu Powell

View Royal

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