Letters to City Council re a Community Hub at 950 Kings

May 2, 2019

Good morning Mayor and Council

 As you may have heard, approximately 20 presentations were made yesterday to the CRD/CRHD Hospitals and Housing Committee.  The presentations supported a neighbourhood driven community hub including the maintenance of the existing amount of greenspace at 950 Kings.  These presentations also reflected on the long term damage that would be done to the health of the neighbourhood if a hub like this is extinguished through proposals like the one yesterday from CRD/CRHD staff are adopted (see item 5.4 and attachments of the following link https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/board-committees/meeting-schedule/event/2019...).  

The presentations also quite correctly flagged the many challenges that the quadrant of Bay/Quadra/Hillside/Hillside have already been asked to take on while other neighbourhood municipalities (see recent Oak Bay Lodge rejection and current mass campaign against 96 units of somewhat “affordable” housing.  What other small area in Victoria is being asked to cope with a list of regional projects like this one while losing 3.5 acres of community accessible space forever?:

 ·         The Capital Region’s largest concentrated low income housing project (191 Units at Evergreen Terrace with  over 500 residents).

         ·      - 21 Units Transitional, Modular Housing

        ·       -320 Unit Complex Care Hospital

And now (in addition):

                   -150 additional affordable apartments

         ·         -52 unit hopital facility

              If we add it all up (without considering the private apartments/condos in the quadrant):

        ·          -362 Affordable/Supported Units

         ·         -372 Hospital Units

 We appreciate the support that we have had to date from Mayor and Council regarding a vision for amenities and retained greenspace at 950 Kings. At the same time we are also concerned that once the CRD/CRHD start rolling with a project our neighbourhood will have no meaningful access to 950 Kings and we will be left with restricted choices about landscaping.  

Over the last few years we have been unnecessarily excluded from a working group that was mandated by the CR(H)D Board with the inclusion of the neighbourhood association.  This housing/hospital proposal, while not brought to committee before yesterday, was hatched before the neighbourhood was even asked what its vision was. Any conversations with CRD/CRHD staff emphasize the same message which is essentially that their legislated mandates do not allow for innovation and collaboration on the types on the elements we would all like to see in a community hub accessible to all. 

Authentic collaboration that can actually contribute to the health of the immediate and nearby neighbourhood is required to  from regional partners like BC Housing, CRD/CRHD and SD 61.  As an organization, we work on collaborative solutions with diverse neighbourhood, community and public partners every day.    We appreciate that folks on Council are prepared to work hard on this alongside us, but if inter agency collaboration is the solution (with true partnership with the neighbourhood) it needs to happen now.

The stakes are high as the health of the existing neighbourhood would diminish greatly with no park like greenspace and healthy amenities on the site that everyone can access.  If 200 units and parking blanket the site, those newcomers will be under resourced and introduced to high stress levels amongst the folks who already live here.

We implore Mayor and Council as a neighbourhood to act now and continuously to protect the health of our neighbourhood and make strategic investments to maintain the quality of life we have all fought for in Hillside-Quadra.  It takes a village….Quadra Village….and it is also going to take support of the City.

Yours in community

 

Kelly

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Kelly Greenwell, RSW, Executive Director