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Concerns Expressed by Neighbourhood Action Group

Dec. 8, 15

Dear CRD/CRHD Directors,

Re: 955 Hillside and 950 Kings Pressing Need For Real Citizen Engagement

On behalf of the Hillside-Quadra Neighbourhood Action Group, I am writing to ask you to carry out a real citizen engagement process around the new extended care facility at 955 Hillside and the future use of 950 Kings Rd.  I am the co-chair of the Hillside Quadra Neighbourhood Action Group, the Land Use Committee of the Hillside Quadra Neighbourhood and a concerned citizen.

As you are aware the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) purchased the land known as 955 Hillside Ave from the School District 61, in 2013. The site is half of the field of the former Blanshard Elementary School, purchased in order to replace the Oak Bay Lodge and the Mt. Tolmie Hospital, much needed regional facilities. 

955 Hillside Ave.
After pushing for months for a date of the next neighbourhood meeting regarding “The Summit”, we just learned late last week that CRHD has scheduled its second neighbourhood meeting for Dec. 12.   It is totally unacceptable to give such short notice for a meeting on a Saturday in mid-December when many people have pre-Christmas commitments.  The notification for the December meeting has been mailed out to only 300 direct neighbours.  The notification for community engagement must be broader.  The neighbourhood feedback that we have received so far is that the short notice at this extremely busy time of year shows lack of respect for the community and shows a lack of intention for true engagement with the neighbourhood.
We request that further neighbourhood meetings with respectful notices and time lines follow the December meeting.
Concerns identified by the neighbourhood include the very major loss of green space, traffic access to the site through a narrow alleyway dumping traffic onto Kings Road- a designated greenway, loss of access through the site, and nothing offered to the neighbourhood. We are hoping for a win-win development with the public partner of the CRHD as part of the CRD with its focus on health and environment.
We request a real citizens engagement process where the neighbourhood's issues are addressed and the result is concrete commitments to amenities and projects that adequately address the overall health of the neighbourhood.

950 Kings Rd.
The CRHD has put an offer to purchase a second piece of land at 950 Kings Road as “a strategic acquisition.” We do not know what will be built, only that the property in the short term will be used as a staging ground for construction of 955 Hillside. We have just been informed that the decision will be made by SD61 Board on December 14 at 7:30pm after one meeting with residents held by the School District scheduled Nov. 23 2015 at 6pm, the dinner hour for many.
There are several current neighbourhood uses for the gym and green space currently, and historically the Quadra Village Community Centre was built without recreational facilities because of access to the Blanshard Elementary facilities. These 2 properties comprise 7 acres directly behind the commercial properties on Quadra Street in our Large Urban Village and hence the direction of their development will set the tone for our entire neighbourhood for decades to come. Further, due to existing zoning, no public process is required to develop this land.
The neighbourhood requires:

  •  CRHD enables it’s delegate to offer concrete commitments to the neighbourhood
  •  We request honesty and transparency about the potential future plans for 950 Kings
  •  Guarantee of continuity of use of neighbourhood space
  •  Guarantee of access to significant green space
  •  Concrete commitments to amenities that reflect the neighbourhood’s wishes
  •  Projects that adequately address the overall health of the neighbourhood

Regards,

Rowena Locklin
Hillside Quadra Neighbourhood Action Group