Oak Bay history and heritage go hand in hand

Redevelopment of Victoria Avenue site would significantly alter neighbourhood

Re: Value of Oak Bay heritage questioned (News, Jan. 27, online here)

The community heritage value of 1231 Victoria Ave. is only one reason to oppose demolition of this home.

The heritage value lies, not only in the home’s social history – for 40 years it was the St. Michael’s School boarding home – but as an integral part of a heritage neighbourhood of 20 or more century-old homes.

The structural integrity of these neighbouring heritage homes is at risk during redevelopment, due to blasting and water run-off created by changes in the topography, tree loss and increased lot coverage. Unless sympathetically designed, two new homes will affect the ambience of the established streetscape.

Redevelopment brings many community costs, including those related to the significant environmental impact associated with demolition, subdivision and infill. Consideration should be given to the community cost of destroying viable housing, carbon costs associated with trucking building materials to the landfill, costs and inconvenience incurred by neighbours due to blasting damage, possible flooding and water damage in downhill homes, loss of green space and loss of trees and wildlife habitat.

Jean  Sparks

Oak Bay

(editor’s note: Jean Sparks is Oak Bay municipal archivist)