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Media Release ~ 7 Acres in the City in Focus

Media Release

Concerns Significant About A Lack of Public Engagement and
Health Impacts on Hillside-Quadra: 7 Acres in the City in Focus

Date: December 2015    For Immediate Release

Victoria, BC-Residents of Hillside-Quadra are shocked and dismayed by the inadequate notice that is being given for input that will shape the future of the neighbourhood for the next 75 years or more.   Both a public planning workshop for the Summit at Quadra Village and hosted by the Capital Regional Hospital District and the School District 61 meeting to consider the sale of the remaining 3.5 acres of the former Blanshard Elementary building and grounds are slated in the leadup to the holiday rush.  The Capital Regional District gave 10 days written notice of its workshop to 300 residences/businesses, while the School District has given 10 days verbal notice to the neighbourhood association with no written notice   According to long-time resident and community builder Leni Hoover “citizens across the region, especially those most marginalized, need adequate notice for meaningful engagement to take place”.

Concerns about the planned development of the Summit at Quadra Village are so significant that a Healthy Neighbourhood Working Group was started in Hillside-Quadra Neighbourhood.  Concerns about the large, 320 resident, 3.5 acre project that will replace Mt. Tolmie Care Facility and Oak Bay Lodge include:
• Loss of meaningful green space: Former school fields are being replaced with a large facility that is said to require significant on-site service road access.  Children, youth, families, pet owners and people of all ages who live in a part of the neighbourhood that already has minimal green space are affected.  Almost all residents in the most affected quadrant of the neighbourhood close to the site live in apartments, condos and townhomes.
• Noise pollution, shading and loss of views.
• Traffic and parking challenges: Plans for significant service access, visitation access and pay parking will combine to result in unmanageable traffic congestion and competition for parking for residents accessing current neighbourhood services.  Total parking spaces planned for the Summit fall well short of the two facilities being replaced. This is a poor mix for the Kings Rd greenway.
• Lack of focus on neighbourhood health: Despite the CRD`s Regional Sustainability Strategy which advocates the ``foster(ing) individual and community well being`` and ``welcoming , attractive, safe, accessible places to support a sense of belonging``the approach to planning for  the  Summit at Quadra Village focuses solely on the care of facility in the proposed facility.

According to Kelly Greenwell, Executive Director of the Quadra Village Community Centre, ``The health and well-being of children, youth, families and all generations is at stake for neighbours of what was once a school field in a traffic-locked area of the City”. 

While the remaining 3.5 acres of the Blanshard Elementary site has no set long-term plan, the neighbourhood association is extremely concerned as there have been no guarantees of neighbourhood access and amenities on site.  As long time resident David Turner says  “there needs to be a covenant or guarantee that the Blanshard School site will include specific neighbourhood benefits for the School District to approve the sale to the CRHD”.

All in all, citizens deserve to have the health of the neighbourhood fully considered and safeguarded before 7 acres of major development go forward.  Residents are being promised engagement opportunities but so far there has been little room for innovation and completely inadequate notice.

Two opportunities currently exist that could influence what happens.  With the lack of lead time it is crucial that that the word is spread that Hillside-Quadra residents can participate:

Summit at Quadra Village Planning Workshop:
Saturday, December 12, 1-3pm SJ Willis Auditorium
923 Topaz Access through School Front Entrance
RSVP to summit@crd.bc.ca or 250-361-3221
 

The Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) Regular Board Meeting
Monday, Dec.14, 2015 - 7:30 p.m..  Tolmie Boardroom
 556 Boleskine Road

For more information, contact:
Kelly Greenwell, Executive Director
Quadra Village Community Centre
250.388.7696 ext.221; ©250 888 3238
kelly@quadravillagecc.com; www.quadravillagecc.com