Not about the money - Oak Bay News May 28, 2018

Recent letters castigate the Oak Bay United Church as simply seeking financial return. That is not entrely true. Name another non government development that would create 51 per cent affordable housing units. That’s 50 suites for our Oak Bay youth or elderly to continue to live in Oak Bay.
I spoke against the Clive apartments development as I thought it too large and it did not supply any underground parking. But it has fit into the fabric of our community very well. There were no affordable units.
Churches do a lot of good in Oak Bay and in Victoria in general. Granite Street has always been a transitional street in a real estate sense. Nearby neighbours can rest assured that the quality of their lives will not be negatively impacted and the value of their homes will remain unequalled when compared to almost all other greater Victoria neighbourhoods.
Patrick Skillings
Oak Bay

Click on the image to read the online version of this letter.

Click on the image to read the online version of this letter.

Here’s a letter from another FIYBY - fine in your backyard.
Mr. Skillings lives a fair distance from the OBUC site so he can be generous with his comments.
He reassures those of us within meters of the site that our lives will not be negatively affected. How silly of us not to see that. Rubbing shoulders with 200 or more near neighbours? We’ll barely notice it. A hundred more cars squeezing down our narrow sidestreet? Won’t even register. More trees taken down, more pressure on the infrastructure. No worries.
The point is: no one questions the need for affordable housing. All we ask (have asked, are asking, will ask) is for a reduction in scale.

And now a few words from the locals and others

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.

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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.

Judy Curran

South Saanich

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:

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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.