Latoria highrise against community plan

Re: Highrise project proposed near Latoria, News, Sept. 7, 2011.

Re: Highrise project proposed near Latoria, News, Sept. 7, 2011.

Colwood council’s quest for tax dollars appears to be high density highrises and the citizens and the official community plan be damned.

Minutes of the Aug. 29 council meeting show a contempt by some councillors for the citizens with whom they were to be consulting. Coun. Judith Cullington’s flippant response to concerns about a high rise in such a neighbourhood was that we apparently just look at ground level.

Well, we are not all navel gazers. The landscape and design of our communities is very important.

Plopping high rise buildings in the middle of suburban neighbourhoods does get everyone’s attention. Common sense and our community plan should guide the location of high rises.

Coun. Cynthia Day noted the proposal is not consistent with the community plan which does not support such high density in the area.

Coun. Gordie Logan stated the Latoria Walk development has a similar height and density. Some simple counting shows the current developments are a third of the height of the highrise Logan supports.

Council feels they can disregard the OCP in exchange for more “amenities.” What is deemed an amenity should be open to question.

These “amenities” would not be needed if counsel abided by the community plan in the first place and would likely be in place anyway if an OCP compliant development was done.

Citizens questioned the ever present issues of traffic congestion to which the answer is apparently a $1 million traffic circle and a bus stop. A circle that leads to and from a single lane each way. For $1 million, let’s hope it has a really big flower pot in the centre.

How tall is the highrise? While 11 storeys is noted, the site planning guidelines note buildings more than six storeys will incorporate a “base building” that is two to six storeys high.

Colwood has offered to sell the developer some of its own naturally vegetated land.

I admit to not being well informed on the plans for the abundance of abandoned gravel pits in Colwood but it would seem odd that the development focus is on denuding green space when there is so much stripped land about.

I’m not opposed to a development that is consistent with the OCP and the area. A high rise described as an “urban wall” doesn’t fit.

This proposed development is not bold, it is hodgepodge planning. The the public hearing is Oct. 19. Perhaps this is a process that would be better put over so voters can hear where the candidates stand on the reliability of the OCP.

Frank Potter