LETTER: Tools needed to integrate the past with the future

Send your letters to editor@oakbaynews.com

Perhaps it was the sight of the heavy excavator perched on the back of a truck slowly moving along our street, bound for another older smaller Oak Bay character home waiting to be demolished. Or sounds of the excavator splintering and breaking apart beautiful old growth lumber and oak hardwood flooring, grabbed and lifted by metal jaws and dumped unceremoniously into the ubiquitous yellow bin.

Or the high-pitched whine of the chain saw, clearcutting established trees and shrubs. Or anticipation of a small neighbourhood street that will be choked by construction traffic, overflow parking and unrelenting noise. Or the uncomfortable reality that our small older character home is vulnerable, like the one down the street.

The home’s 80-year history, family stories and memories were demolished along with the house in under an hour. This has become an all too familiar scenario in Oak Bay, another older character home disappearing, one that was still capable, with a facelift, of providing a new home to a new family.

Neighbourhoods not only lose the home but also lose an environmental microcosm, a mature natural habitat where pollinators, birds and other animals made their homes; where trees and shrubs provided a level of carbon sinking and contributed to local air quality; and, where gardens formed a patchwork quilt of colour that softened hard scapes.

Not all of these homes are salvageable, but they form an integral part of our community’s neighbourhood fabric that continues to attract people. Once considered more affordable with “good bones,” these homes reflect an era when less was more, small was big and dreams were more modest.

Change is fundamental to healthy community development but should be guided by sensitive planning and environmental oversight. Why not have planning tools that more effectively integrate the past with the future?

Cairine Green

Oak Bay

Just Posted

Victoria police search for missing senior last seen in James Bay at noon today

Elsie Habbick, 75, is quite mobile, despite suffering from dementia

PHOTOS: 120th Annual Victoria Day Parade

Check out the photo gallery, watch our live feed of the festivities

Reporter gets serious with Tour de Victoria’s 140km ride

Travis Paterson’s training blog for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria on Aug. 18, Volume 1

Victoria Day Parade returns to celebrate 120 years

F18 Hornets to honour #HumboldtStrong with first ever fly past, kicking off parade

Preserving Victoria’s character buildings costly, but worth it

Pemberton and Son recognized for heritage preservation of Promis Block

Oak Bay optometrist challenges community to target 100 for Ride Don’t Hide

Annual event to raise funds, awareness for Canadian Mental Health Association June 24 in Windsor Park

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read