“It’s going to be an exciting community to live in.”
Posted by Steven Hurdle on September 18, 2008
At Monday night’s Langford Council meeting, a proposed development at 3326 and 3328 Happey Valley Road came up for public hearing. This had previously been discussed by a committee. The two lots are proposed to be turned into a nine-lot subdivision.
Previously the discussion had centred around the developer’s concerns about potentially losing one of the 9 units if he had to put in a connection to the Galloping Goose. The new plan does indeed have the subdivision being connected to the Goose and nine units, however.
While some of the citizens that had been at the committee meeting were in attendance, most of the discussion in front of Langford Council was with Happey Valley resident Geoff Hadley. He expressed his concern that rezoning the property from “Greenbelt Residential” to “Residential Small Lot” did not serve the good of the community. “If this one’s approved, we’ll see similar applications from Marwood, South.”
Mr. Hadley also argued that with all the new development already greenlit, that there was no need for more at this time. “We’ve got Westhills coming along, and Skirt Mountain, and that should provide sufficient accomodation for about 15 years or so. The real estate bubble appears to have burst, and this development is something you may need 20 years in the future.”
Mr. Hadley questioned whether replacing larger lots with smaller lots was a good long-term strategy. “We might have people looking at the large lots, and saying ‘I wish I had something like that so I could grow my own food.’ ”
The resident suggested that this kind of piecemeal development was “willy nilly.” Langford City Planner Matthew Baldwin, responding to a request from Deputy Mayor Denise Blackwell, assured Council that the development proposal was “consistent with the South Langford neighbourhood plan.”
Mayor Stew Young argued that “these properties will be contributing towards buying farmland,” referring to Langford Council’s plans to remove all land in Langford from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Mr. Hadley’s parting comments to the committee was half olive-branch, half-challenge. “Stand up and be counted, the election’s coming in a few months time, and I think people will be looking to councillors who oppose this.”
Mayor Young argued in favour of the development on the basis of what the new development might offer prospective new residents of Langford, even if some current residents don’t want the community to change in this regard. “We’re trying to make sure we look at all areas of Langford for affordability and accessibility. They’re kind of a niche market for people, who perhaps are buying their first house. We’ve tried to make sure every development contributes something that people in Langford want.”
Mayor Young’s final comment highlighted the underlying difference between him and many local residents who love the neighbourhoods they live in. “You’ll see some changes in Happy Valley, and it’s going to be an exciting community to live in.”
– Steven Hurdle –