Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Malling of the Saanich Peninsula

There are 23,000 people live in North Saanich and Sidney, a rise of only 1000 people over the last ten years.   There two proposed retail developments west of Highway #17 - Sandown Commons  and the recently proposed Sidney Gateway.

Sandown Commons has been in planning for going on five years now and is expected to eventually be about 160,000 square feet in size

Sidney Gateway has just started the approval process but Sidney seems to be moving quickly on it.   It is planned to be 100,000 square feet.

This is a total of 260,000 square feet of new retail space all to the west of the highway and not close to where anyone lives.    Here are my issues with them:

  • The demand to cross Highway #17 at Beacon is going to increase and this will cause traffic backups because of the ferries
  • At the moment Sidney has a walkable downtown core.   You can drive there, park your car and do all your business.    These developments disperse the retail environment of Sidney in a bad way
  • Sidney already has all the stores that people need.   Three grocery stores for 23,000 people seems more than is really needed   If each new development has a 40,000 square foot grocery store of some sort I really have to wonder where the customers will come from to keep them in business
  • Finally, this is a perfect case for joint planning my North Saanich and Sidney.   At the moment the two developments seem to be causing strife between the councils.

I discussed this today on CFAX .

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Who Speaks for this Region?

We have a problem that in a region of 320,000 people and only 25% of those people live in the municipality that gives the region its name. 

Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna and many other Canadian cities have a clear person who speaks for the region. These cities all benefit from having a single clear voice to speak for it.

We are known as Victoria, or Greater Victoria, and not as the CRD when we talk about things around here. In theory the mayor of Victoria should defacto speak for the region but Saanich represents more than 1/3 of the population - this is not just a small amount more than Victoria but a significant amount.

In the absence of of an amalgamated municipality it would make senes to have the head of the CRD be the voice of the region but with the current regional district model in BC the chair of a regional district is not the same as a mayor. A further problem is that the CRD reprsents areas that are not part of Greater Victoria.

Without clear leadership our region will continue to limit along going nowhere.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Gorge Waterway - an environmental success story

I am going to start doing some Vlogging as well as posting on this blog.   Here is my first short piece

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Street = Orillia Street

I live on Orillia Street, a completely unremarkable street in the Tillicum Gorge neighbourhood of Saanich.   I have lived in the neighbourhood for 12 years and on this street for 30 months now.

The street:

  • is only 900 meters long, for 500 meters of that we have a sidewalk
  • has 59 houses on Orillia 
  • most of the houses were constructed between 1920 and 1940 but a number of them have been demolished to make way for much, much larger houses
  • the oldest house is from 1890 
  • has Tillicum elementary school on it
  • has one book box
  • there is no pedestrian light to get over Burnside even though the bus stop is at the corner of Burnside and Orillia.   There is no light either at Gorge and Orillia even though the main park in the area is across the Gorge from Orillia and the sidewalk on Orillia makes it a street people use to get to the Gorge park
  • there is no crosswalk at Orillia and Obed.   People have tried to paint one in since the crosswalk on Orillia and the one on Obed do not connect
  • Orillia is a short walk from shopping at Tillicum Mall and at the shopping centre at Gorge and Tillicum.   Pearkes Rec Centre and the Saanich Centennial Library are also a short walk away