#Local Government
Member Municipal Councils of the Capital Regional District (Victoria), B.C.

Thank you everyone who signed the petition! It has been a tremendous success! For some details, see the report on the public hearing just below.

... And the petition remains open. If you haven't signed yet, please do!

Report on the Public Hearing

Speakers at the hearing were overwhelmingly opposed to the amendment. People of all ages made excellent points about affordable housing, wild spaces, liveability, as well as concern about Bear Mountain itself and the Highlands as an intact rural municipality. There were many eloquent, heart-felt voices, including those representing several groups (Council of Canadians, Saanich Inlet Preservation Society, community associations from various parts of the region, etc.)

Our petition at the time of final submission to the hearing contained 791 signatures, many accompanied by passionate, informed, well-expressed comments. It made a very pleasing contrast to the 500 or so form letters submitted by a Bear Mountain employee. We had about half again the number of signatures, and we represented a broad and well-informed diversity of interests.

For more details, see our hearing report.

You’ve seen what they’ve done in Langford – now they want urban density in the Highlands too

In Langford, intensive development is the name of the game, and nowhere more clearly than at Bear Mountain. There, developers have built a huge golf course complex and 2200-unit luxury housing development, and are now planning to build towers of 29 and 45 stories, for a total of 5000 housing units. That’s the highest density in Victoria, right at the very edge of the Urban Containment Boundary.

Now Bear Mountain is looking for urban designation on their neighbouring property in the Highlands, outside the UCB. A proposed amendment will extend the UCB to include all the land they own in the Highlands, plus several adjacent properties. It will put an urban designation, with urban water and sewer services, on 700 acres now designated as rural and green space.

Why should you care?

Urban Sprawl. The Urban Containment Boundary contains urban growth: what’s inside is urban, high-density development; what’s outside is rural, low-density uses. All over the region, land inside the UCB is being intensively developed.

Traffic Woes. This UCB amendment will put even more pressure on our choked western approaches, with thousands of new residents driving driving from the edge of the region to downtown.

Water Demands. This UCB amendment will add further to our quickly rising population, converting low-density uses that rely on wells to urban development that uses our limited supply of piped water.

Less Green Space = Lower Quality of Life. All recent public surveys – as well as common sense – show that our green space is a huge part of what makes the Region such a wonderful place to live. This change to the UCB will convert what is now part of our green space to urban land. Don’t count on it ever going the other way.

Uglification of the Region. Huge high-rise towers visible from points all over our city, breaking up the lovely vista of the Sooke Hills. Shocking damage to the view from Mt. Finlayson, with huge stretches of forest replaced by roads, parking lots, condos, hotel blocks, houses, golf courses. Prepare for it to get worse if this amendment goes through.

A Bad Precedent. Intact, the Urban Containment Boundary keeps the city in the city and out of the countryside. But if we change it whenever a development would like more urban zoning and services, it is powerless to protect what we value. The Regional Growth Strategy and its Urban Containment Boundary are only as good as our commitment to them.

IN REGARD TO the proposed amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy to extend the Regional Urban Containment and Servicing Area boundary in the District of Highlands:

WHEREAS the Capital Region’s rural areas and green spaces are critical to its liveability and sustainability; and

WHEREAS urban sprawl in the Capital Region, as everywhere, causes major negative consequences, including traffic and transportation problems, increased demand on limited water supplies, irreversible loss of green space, urbanization of rural communities, and destruction of natural beauty; and

WHEREAS the Regional Growth Strategy is a crucial tool for preserving and enhancing the liveability of the Capital Region; and

WHEREAS the proposed amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy would convert a substantial area of rural and green space to urban uses, would promote urban sprawl, and would undermine the authority and effectiveness of the Regional Growth Strategy,

WE THE UNDERSIGNED residents of the Capital Region call on our municipal and regional governments to reject this proposed amendment.

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The Defend the Regional Growth Strategy and Urban Containment Boundary petition to Member Municipal Councils of the Capital Regional District (Victoria), B.C. was written by Rod Glover and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.