Some San Pareil residents are expressing concerns about losing greenspace due to a proposed housing development on a 146-acre property running along the Englishman River.
The City of Parksville has received an application for an Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw amendment to the property at 1465 Greig St. that is currently designated as planned neighbourhood/single unit residential. The applicant wants the single residential designation to be amended to transitional residential in order to facilitate a concept of a planned neighbourhood.
The applicant also seeks to amend the zoning from Agricultural A-1 to comprehensive development to allow a mix of up to 800 of units of duplexes, four-plexes and townhomes.
Linda Harbo said they have started a working group and have sent a letter to Parksville council about their objections to the development of the property.
“This experience of wilderness wandering into greenspaces such as, at 1465 Greig St. is a piece of heaven and unpopulated, alive and open to offering ample elbow room to breathe and travel down foot paths and lose yourself into forests, flora, flood plains, ponds, all guiding you towards the Englishman River and Top Bridge Park and to nature’s symphonies of sounds,” said Harbo in her letter to council.
While Harbo understands the region is facing a housing crisis, she pointed out the importance of preservation of natural environments, greenspace and protecting rural integrity to contain urban sprawl as outlined in the city’s Official Community Plan.
“Preserving recreational space is also a major benefit for physical and mental restoration,” said Harbo. “Yes, we are facing a housing crisis, but we are also facing a mental health crisis as, it is preventative medicine and therapy for many of us. For so these and many other reasons, our community needs to preserve this natural wonder, not only for its beauty but also for its gentle ecosystem as, it’s a corridor next to the Englishman river, Top Bridge and the highly sensitive estuary.”
Harbo feels the proposed development will not create affordable housing and will not solve the city’s housing crisis.
“It will only add inventory,” she said. “This plan negatively impacts our community and will further magnify and complicate challenging traffic issues and water restrictions as well as, destroying the delicate balance of the ecology and beautiful trail systems.”
Harbo wants council to thoroughly review the application and consider the preservation of a very sensitive ecosystem.
The developers in their presentation to council last year indicated they plan to only develop 80 acres and leave the remaining 60 acres as possible parkland, which may include community features such as trails and programmed open space.