An area plan for Cordova Bay Village which calls for road improvements and more affordable housing has passed a public hearing with Saanich council.
The plan, which still has to be adopted by council, is a framework for how the area will change over the next 20 to 30 years.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says the Cordova Bay Local Area Plan was created after a multi-year consultation process which included residents, First Nations, business owners, neighbourhood groups, community stakeholders, and developers.
“Our wish, as a council and as a district, was to make sure that we’re putting action towards reconciliation. The way we do that is to make sure we’re having conversations with the First Nations on whose territories we live and work,” Haynes said.
“The reason that is critically important is that the land of the Cordova Bay is on the historic settlement, village sites of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations and indeed, there are burial grounds there, and indeed, there are artifacts that are going back 1000s of years.”
Haynes says as part of the area plan, First Nations will be involved in the land decisions for new developments in the area.
The goal of creating this plan, Haynes says, is to help streamline some of the application processes for the area.
“So what happens now is with that plan in place, those people who add housing have more certainty, and if the application stays within that plan, and doesn’t see variance from the plan, then it should be a very straightforward process in getting the applications processed by staff and coming forward to council,” Haynes said.
Alex Izett, president of the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, says he is glad to see this plan come together after a four-year process for its development.
“It’s been four years in the making,” Izett said. “It’s been frustrating in some respects, but now that we have this plan the association is well pleased.”
He says since the previous version of the Local Area Plan was last updated in 1998, it is good to have an updated plan.
“Rather than a document that’s 20 plus years old, we now have a strategic vision that is definitely looking forward to the next 20 to 30 years,” Izett said. “And it just gives us that foundation that helps the community to build Cordova Bay like so many other places across the CRD.”
Both Haynes and Izett noted there was a high degree of community involvement in creating this plan.
Some highlights of the plan include diversifying housing choices including allowing garden suites and multi-family homes in certain regions, slowing traffic through the village, implementing road improvements including eight pedestrian crossings in the village, and enhancing Lochside Trail and Lochside Drive.
Haynes says the final reading of the plan will take place at Saanich council on Monday.