Approval of the Schooner Cove and Lakes District proposals should be applauded. Three years of public consultation have resulted in environmentally, socially and economically sound plans. Hundreds of people participated in the Public Hearings through letters, verbal presentations and attendance. More than 80 per cent voiced strong support. The public will is clear.
These plans contain benefits for all residents of Nanoose Bay. A 300 acre park that includes the Notch and Lookout, and which hopefully will connect to Moorecroft, will be provided as part of the Lakes District Plan.
This is well in excess of the 36 acres required under statute. In addition, the plan for the Lakes District reflects unprecedented attention to environmental sustainability; protecting 100 per cent of the rare and sensitive Garry Oak meadow and other ecosystems. As well, the plan prescribes conservation covenants, wildlife corridors, setbacks and underpasses.
At Schooner Cove, the plan calls for a village with a pub, café/bakery, grocery and other shops to serve the everyday needs of local residents with the ambience of the waterfront and without necessarily requiring a car. A new 350m waterfront walkway will open up public access to the water for all Nanoose residents. In addition, expanded housing options will allow local residents to age in place without leaving their friends and social ties in Nanoose.
Other communities could only wish for amenities of this sort.
Through the extensive design consultation process and the formal public hearings, the residents of Nanoose have made it clear that they want these plans to go forward and that they want to see the balance of the approval process proceeded within a timely fashion.
I wholeheartedly encourage the RDN to get on with it and to do everything possible to expedite the development of the Lakes District and Schooner Cove neighbourhoods.