Timeout on Stoney Hill should provide time to get it right
It was appropriate we heard about mending fences to heal the polarization in the great divide that has caused so much animosity among Stoney Hill residents.
The stones and hills have indeed presented geographical obstacles but also a somewhat rare opportunity to halt progress if only for three months as we catch our breath in making considered decisions for so many future generations.
It would be naive to think existing bylaws and zoning could halt wily developers. It is the love of money that is the root of all such unseemly manipulation. I call it “grate expectations.” As home owners are disappointed by the loss of the sugar-plum vision of tens of thousands of dollars dancing in their heads, dangled luringly by those keen and sophistical developers, they grate in the loss of that expectation.
But council has deftly stickhandled the middle ground as stewards, maintaining a very high percentage of wilderness and making decisions for all the electorate, rather than bowing sheepishly to highly financed interest groups with mere self-serving motives.
If we could be reassured the OCP’s vision of preventing sprawl and panhandled lots could be sustained, then the story would reach a compromise But only the childlike would not smell something brewing in the fiscal avarice of builders. There is many a Cassius developer with a lean and hungry look, angling to feed upon the sheep, casting their idle regulations aside like limp, rag dolls.
In Ontario, I saw billionaire developers buy the politicians and cast the rules aside to develop highly profitable sprawl in the Toronto area’s vitally needed watershed and green space.
Let us hope we can think at leisure to prevent such ugly proliferation and uncivilized tactics, and leave a legacy allowing the security/safety of the residents and maintaining what they originally bought out there — pristine and wonderful nature.
This is why so many, like me, moved to Vancouver Island. Is this nature’s last Western hope in the highly populated part of Canada? Many do see it that way and are willing to work mightily to preserve what little is left.
It doesn’t take David Suzuki to realize we are all connected and rely on that fragile, thin biosphere infrastructure to maintain our spaceship planet viably.
The Native peoples discovered this in living on this land for countless generations. If they mismanaged it, the results came back to bite them fatally. Such wisdom should be considered very carefully. The word spirit refers to the air and life-ensuring sustenance we breathe.
I wish councillors good fortune and health in their weighing of decisions. I have seen presentations by the Medical Officer of Health and VIHA that speak to the complex level of understanding required in reaching those decisions. Few can say they fully understand the issues from the outset.
I admire this island’s people for the fine articulation of their varied approaches and viewpoints, no matter what stripe. It speaks well to the level of consciousness here that I am happy to participate in.
Robin Lawson is a Maple Bay resident. North Cowichan has delayed a decision on the controversial Stoney Hill Road until late spring.