When I first heard of the Oak Bay United Church's (OBUC) intention to build affordable housing on its land, I thought, “That sounds like a good use of that space.”
That was before I learned of the size and density intended for this property. It was well before I went to the December 14th, 2017 so-called community consultation, only to have my comments ignored. Worse still, one of the convenors attempted to bully the people at my table by claiming photography of the plans was a breach of copyright. The man didn’t know copyright law but neither did I. Looking it up later, I found he was wrong.
That’s a long-winded way of saying I was slow in my engagement with the issue. I didn't start watching the articles and readers' comments in the local papers until early 2018.
The first Letter to the Editor I saw was this one in the Times Colonist:
Re: “New residential development a lifeline for Oak Bay church,” Dec. 28.
Kudos to Oak Bay United Church and B.C. Housing for collaborating on a proposed affordable housing development of the church land in Oak Bay.
It is long overdue, given the ongoing, disastrous, local and national affordable-housing crisis, that churches and other institutions sitting on and/or owning tracts of land use that resource for affordable housing. By doing so they are able to meet their goals.
Now it is up to us in their surrounding communities to support making their initiatives work.
This writer is what I would call a FIYBY (pronounced Fibby – Fine In Your Backyard). She lives nowhere near Oak Bay. Any and all problems resulting from a project of this magnitude will not affect her.
I answered with this letter:
From here forward we will start to post the opinions by people who have enough conviction to own their opinions. There is some interesting reading ahead.