Re: Invitation for dialogue on Oak Bay United Church housing proposal, (Letters, OakBayNews.com, Aug. 9)
It is heartening that Mr. King of the Oak Bay United Church leadership wants to have a constructive conversation with the church’s neighbours. We participated in the church’s outreach initiative but were perplexed at the lack of solicitation on size and density.
Mr. King should understand that suspicion and emotion might increase accordingly as the neighbours realized they would have to live with whatever is allowed. We submitted a freedom of information request to understand what the church proposed and why. Most of the response to our request was censored but what little remained confirmed that the project as originally pitched to BC Housing was 269 units in six storeys; 269 units on one acre of land within a single family neighbourhood is a ridiculous five times the average Oak Bay apartment density.
Their present proposal still does not meet the test of a reasonable compromise as it is two times the average Oak Bay apartment density. We have always been prepared to work with the church on a suitable compromise, but they have not acted in good faith throughout this process. As to possible solutions, we believe Oak Bay should develop a housing strategy that will address the issues that Mr. King raises so that the developer and residents know where they stand. As we have done before, we are willing to provide a representative group of neighbours to meet with church leadership to discuss a way forward.