I am rather impressed with how various letter writers and Mayor Nils Jensen have managed to change the conversation around the recent raft of home demolitions from one of heritage preservation and the reduction of property values to existing homes, to a discussion about how retrogrades who dislike West Coast home design should keep quiet; and how people who wish to speak about preserving Oak Bay’s architectural heritage are comparable to bigots who could have shunned Jensen’s family for being incomers back in the day.
I’m particularly impressed by that last bit of smoke and mirrors: our mayor is not Crown Counsel for nothing.
In fact what residents of Oak Bay are concerned about is not “the way they decorate their homes or what their paint colour should be.” My 12-year-old-son saw right through that argument (Letters May 16).
What we are concerned about is losing our views as houses go up which maximize the available footprint (the allowable footprint having been expanded only last year).
We are concerned about not looking at trees and sky any more, but looking at a wall instead. We are concerned about our properties being devalued as houses go in which block the light to our homes and gardens. We are concerned about damage to our homes from blasting and from older plantings being undermined as new foundations being dug rip through roots.
Personally, I don’t mind West Coast style houses, though I’m not convinced they belong in a neighbourhood where the housing stock is primarily from the first half of the last century. I feel the same about parts of Fernwood, Fairfield and James Bay.
A repeal of the Floor Area Ratio would allow us breathing space to consider what sort of community residents want.