Re: West Shore a good example for growth, Guest Comment; Bear Mountain relaunches development, News, April 20, 2012.
In his op-ed, West Shore Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Spinner cites Colwood and Langford as examples of sustainable development “that others can duplicate.” Really?
The same issue tells us, Bear Mountain plans to apply for rezoning with Langford to allow lower density neighbourhoods spread over more land, which would reduce the amount of greenspace and forest under the existing development plan.
The interview with Bear Mountain CEO Gary Cowan indicates this is needed to realize more profits faster than the approved vision.
As for Colwood, a drive along Latoria Road shows what “The City of Trees” is doing to accommodate housing developers.
It’s not just environmental sustainability at stake. Langford watered down its pioneering affordable housing policies explicitly to increase developer profits.
The Chamber of Commerce column suggests the core municipalities could learn from the West Shore. Let’s hope the learning goes the other way, from experienced urban municipalities to the new West Shore cities, especially when it comes to densifying development, preserving remaining natural areas and sustaining the cultural institutions which make our region special.
For starters, Langford and Colwood could stop free-loading and fund the Capital Regional District arts program (which supports essential theatre, art and music institutions) and the Regional Housing Trust Fund.
Even the low-growth rural districts of Highlands and Metchosin contribute to these critical regional activities.