Monday, November 10, 2008

CABLE BAY DEVELOPMENT TWO DIFFERENT VIEWS

DENSIFICATION VS URBAN SPRAWL
HOW SHOULD NANAIMO GROW?

This past year a controversial project at Dodd Narrows in the Cedar district was sent back to the drawing board when the developers attempted to have 92 acres of Regional District lands annexed to the City of Nanaimo.

Residents in Cedar were strongly opposed to having their lifestyle changed with the building of some 1800 homes in a project which would include a golf course, and resort hotel. One of the key figures in the successful campaign which saw over 8000 signatures collected which could have forced a referendum was current Council Candidate Fred Pattje.

A proponent of the project is Mark MacDonald who is also seeking your support for a seat on Council. What follows are the two sides of the Cable Bay coin.

Either persons opinion on this single issue does not exclude either of them as suitable candidates for City Council, in fact the Council could benefit from the election of both individuals. Obviously this is not a single issue campaign and Cable Bay has hardly been discussed giving way to the far hotter topic of the PNC hotel project.

This does however, offer two differing opinions of what is the best direction for the City to take in everyone’s common goal to grow our City into a community we may all be proud of.

Fred Pattje Speaks Against

Cable Bay Development

My five main reasons for opposing:

1) Cable Bay is a classic example of urban sprawl which, by definition, happens when suburbs/subdivisions are being built at the periphery of the municipality while encroaching on rural lands.

2) Nanaimo has land zoned today to absorb roughly 35000 more citizens, which would carry us through till roughly 2031. This requires infill and provides densification around existing infrastructure. I want to use this infrastructure before extending outward.

3)We all agree that we need about 8000 more residents living in, or close to, the downtown core in order to obtain the revitalization we all desire; the city is spending millions of our tax dollars to achieve this worthy goal, so why would you, at this point in time, steer 7000 people to the far reaches of the municipality.

4) A functional public transit system requires a certain density; I believe the benchmark is around 20 units per hectare and Nanaimo's is about four or five per hectare; you can see we have a long way to go and the kind of infill and densification I support will at least work towards that goal.

5) Pulp mills ( Harmac ) and a Golf Resort and Spa, for obvious reasons, do not make for very compatible neighbours!

While Cable Bay Lands Inc. said that they will pay for all infrastructure, I want to see their master plan and find out what they really mean by that. Obviously they would have to pay for whatever falls within their property of some 525 acres but there is the fact that, at present, the City's provision of water ends about 2km from Cable Bay's property line and sewer about 4km. To bring that infrastructure to their property, through bedrock, is a very expensive proposition. Who pays?

Mark MacDonald speaks for

Cable Bay Development

1. Cable Bay is not an example of urban sprawl, as the development as currently proposed would result in a healthy density. Urban sprawl would be the result of not letting this development, as proposed, to move forward. As it sits, there would be a collection of 5 acre parcels, which would duplicate the urban sprawl that we see in the Benson Meadows area.

2. If the land that is currently zoned is so valuable or desirable by developers, why aren't they clamoring to buy it and build on it? The marketplace, ultimately, decides, and Cable Bay is a fabulous piece of property that buyers are finding very attractive opportunities. There isn't another development like Cable Bay planned or proposed for anywhere else, so this is a unique opportunity for Nanaimo, one which will provide construction jobs, retail jobs upon completion, and a long-term sustainable tax base.

3. We agree about the necessity of downtown residents, and that's what the high rises will help with - people with disposable income living downtown. That will create opportunities for public transit as well. But the marketplace will have a great deal to say about which housing opportunities are created downtown. Some suggest that limiting the heights of buildings to 5-6 stories is the way to go, but the development community isn't exactly lining up to build them - the return on their investment and effort isn't as appealing as other opportunities.

4. A functional public transit system does require a certain difficulty. That is what high rises will contribute towards. The dream of 5-6 storey buildings has its downside as well - a lack of business people proposing them, and the specter of a virtual wall of buildings shielding homes behind them from waterfront views among the most prominent.

5. Pulp mills and a golf resort can co-exist, if the residents of Cable Bay want that. They can live where they want. Besides, Harmac is not nearly as odorous as it was in years gone by.

The bottom line for my support of Cable Bay is using Bear Mountain in Langford as a direct comparison. That project alone has raised the bar significantly in Langford, an area that was once called "Dogpatch" by Victorians. It has helped raise the standards throughout the community, given them clean development and a long-term, sustainable tax base, and a world class resort of which they can all be proud. I believe Cable Bay could do the same for Nanaimo, and we'd all benefit.



allvoices

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