Joni Mitchell had it right

No amount of parking near or in the village will ever be enough to satisfy drivers

Re: Hampshire lot use a hot topic (News, Sept. 7).

No amount of parking near or in the village will ever be enough to satisfy drivers who feel they must park right next to their chosen shop. The property at 1531 Hampshire Rd. “might” have been bought by the municipality for parking some 22 years ago, but times change.

The house’s sad state is obviously due to lack of maintenance. If the municipality could not maintain the home even with 22 years of rent coming in, how can funding be found to create a parking lot and then maintain that? Poor maintenance is not a reason to turn a residential zoned home into an adjunct for the business district.

Theatre Lane is the boundary – business on one side – residents on the other side. The community decided that; that’s why it’s zoned that way. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Otherwise neighbourhoods are eroded and not valued.

Our municipal leaders commissioned the Active Transportation study and are on the right track – we don’t want to encourage more vehicle traffic. Renovate, sell or rebuild – but keep it as a home – perhaps upstairs for seniors who can no longer drive, the downstairs for municipal offices such as the archives or Oak Bay Volunteers. It would make an ideal transition from the business community to the residential neighbourhood. There are many fine examples of mixed use in the village – the municipality did it with suites above and behind the library – why not at 1531 Hampshire Rd.?

Living near the village, we actively support our local businesses and accept there will be street parking in front of our homes by patrons from further afield. We knew that when we bought here – it’s not a problem. But please (with apologizes to Joni Mitchell) don’t pave (our neighbourhood) paradise to put up a parking lot.

Rick Lee

Oak Bay