Municipal democracy suffering in Colwood

Council needs to look at a review of its official community plan

Following the recent public hearing around the proposed development proximate to Metchosin and Painter roads, I have some suggestions and concerns with the process of community engagement.

This should interest all Colwood residents, as other neighbourhoods can and will face the same dilemma: How do councillors make decisions which balance the needs, rights and experience of existing residents with a desire to develop our community to a highest and best possible use condition? What is “best” and for whom?

I cannot point to a single change in perspective or design on the part of the land-use subcommittee, council or staff since I have been following the proceedings. A staff member and council member have each told me that they “like this sort of thing in their home neighbourhood.” Well good for you, but this is our neighbourhood.

On one occasion I attempted to convene public meetings where some real conversation could occur. My proposal was refused by all parties except local residents. Staff said they were legally restricted by municipal legislation and the B.C. Community Charter. Only two councillors actually met with residents and only one in a meaningful way. Is this truly the state of municipal democracy?

I think council needs to commence a review of the official community plan. In the process, community members need to participate; I am ashamed to say I only attended one charrette leading up to the promulgation of the current OCP. We need to invest in local democracy long before we are directly affected, positively or negatively.

I further invite councillors to state publicly their approach to development in Colwood. One year into your mandate is a great time to tell residents what you see and believe. Otherwise I can only assume that intensive development along Latoria, Wishart, Metchosin and Lagoon roads, among others, is the new norm and the only way forward.

Ken Gray


Just Posted

B.C. Fire chiefs concerned over home-grown cannabis and fire hazards

More legislation is needed around electrical, fire codes

Former hostage negotiator to hold class in Victoria

Cathy MacDonald will teach communication skills on Sept. 26

Can you name all four of Victoria’s ‘sister cities’?

Partnerships with Asian, Russian countries have resulted in tourism, investment opportunities

Saanich churches seek to spread the blessings of pet ownership

St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church will hold its annual Blessing of the Animals Service Sunday

Victoria UnWined helps grant wishes for children facing critical illness

UnWined Vancouver Island raises money for Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

POLL: How much should rents increase in 2019?

A task force has recommended the provincial government limit rent increases for… Continue reading

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Most Read