UVic seeks input on Cedar Hill X Rd lands

A former potential site of sewage treatment, now under study. Image courtesy CRD Natural Areas Atlas

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.

Tune-up your transportation with SustainableU

The SustainableU people (an interesting mix of the CRD, BC Hydro, Walmart, and others) are hosting a series of workshops this fall on transportation and how people’s choice affect the environment and their community. As they say

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 4-6pm
Thursday, November 4 Uvic Campus – David Strong Building Room C103 12-1:50pm
Tuesday, November 9 CRD Headquarters, Room 107 12-2pm
Wednesday, November 10 620 View Street, Room 517(Victoria Car Share Co-op) 5:30-7:30pm
Saturday, November 13 Saanich Commonwealth Place, Cedars Room 9:30-11:30am
Tuesday, November 16 Camosun College Interurban campus, Liz Ashton Campus Centre Building, Room 122 4-6pm
Tuesday, November 16 Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Feltham Room 5:30-7:30pm
November 21
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street 10-12pm
Tuesday, November 23 CRD Parks Cedar Room 2-4pm
Wednesday, November 24 Learning and Career Centre (Naden 136) 8:30-10:30am
Thursday, November 25 Pearkes Recreation Centre 5:30-7:30pm
November 29
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street. Pioneer Hall A 7-9pm

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.”

(h/t to Rita Fromholt from UVic Sustainability for pointing these out)