UVic Sustainability has finally decided to develop a plan for the Cedar Hill X Rd. lands. Yes, those same lands that the CRD considered for a Saanich East/Oak Bay sewage treatment/pumping plant earlier this year. (For reference, it is outlined in yellow to the right). Like most areas, there are a lot of interested parties, including dog walkers, UVic Facilities, UVic Forest Biology, and the local community. Some of those users don’t see eye to eye, so balancing those conflicted needs should be interesting.
This isn’t the first time a plan has come up for the site, although it seems that everybody but UVic has been involved. Proposed for the site in 2009 was a “UVic School of Agriculture” by the Campus Urban Agricultural Collective (Facebook page). At the time the draft plan under discussion was but an apple in the eye of then-UVic (now CRD) Sustainability Coordinator Sarah Webb, as she mentioned the Marlet in a story about the CUAC. Earlier this year the Food Not Lawns Collective co-opted that idea and dumped it into their manifesto (as they dug up the lawn in front of the library, possibly killing all their credibility in the process).
Disappointingly, the plan doesn’t talk at all about the road immediately adjacent, which includes parking in the area, or of better pedestrian access. Currently Cedar Hill X Rd. has a number of problems: too wide, lack of sidewalks on the north side, lack of bike lanes, and its use as overflow parking from UVic, the Rec Centre, both golf courses, and Emmanuel Baptist Church. Yes, the road is under the control of Oak Bay, but that shouldn’t stop UVic from making a stronger statement. And Oak Bay should listen. After all, they are the adjacent land owner and we go to great pains to query other adjacent land owners when we put in improvements like bike lanes. Observe the recent bike lane work on the other side of Cedar Hill X Rd.
However, I am cautiously optimistic. The drop dead date for getting your comments into UVic is November 26th. You can read more at the UVic Sustainability Planning site.
Leave with the tools and information to deliver presentations and spread the word to your peers. We equip you with a toolkit and the knowledge to capture any audience – from drivers to walkers – in any sort of setting.
The seminars, two hours long, are free, and there are a lot of them. Take a look:
Tuesday, November 2
Camosun College Lansdowne Campus – Young Building, Room 310
Thursday, November 4
Uvic Campus – David Strong Building Room C103
Tuesday, November 9
CRD Headquarters, Room 107
Wednesday, November 10
620 View Street, Room 517(Victoria Car Share Co-op)
Saturday, November 13
Saanich Commonwealth Place, Cedars Room
Tuesday, November 16
Camosun College Interurban campus, Liz Ashton Campus Centre Building, Room 122
Tuesday, November 16
Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Feltham Room
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street
Tuesday, November 23
CRD Parks Cedar Room
Wednesday, November 24
Learning and Career Centre (Naden 136)
Thursday, November 25
Pearkes Recreation Centre
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street. Pioneer Hall A
The idea is to “teach the teachers”, as it were. The workshop attendees go out and get people in the community to voluntarily pledge to reduce the amount of driving they do, which isn’t exactly a new idea — albeit one that hasn’t been tried here in the CRD that I know of although I could be wrong — just search for “car diet pledge” or “drive less pledge” to get an idea.
Registration is free and is run through the CRD. Visit the Transportation Tune-up page to learn more. As an incentive, they have laid on a few prizes for participants, bikes, bus passes, and similar items. More you sign up, the more you win. As they put it, “Think of this as an eco-friendly pyramid scheme.”