Regarding the article in the Feb. 17 issue of the Gazette, “West Shore daycare strugglers for zoning approval.” This is just an observation regarding Marianne Whittaker DBA Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre’s application to rezone their property and her dismissal of due process and apparent need to put the cart before the horse.
They knew as long ago as June or July of 2020 that their current lease was up and decided on their own to try and cram their business into an R1-zoned space.
There appears to be plenty of appropriately zoned spaces in Colwood and surrounding municipalities already that they could have chosen. They’ve made all of this mess on their own and now they’re feeling the pressure of time. According to former Colwood staff planner Richard Buchan, they made an initial application and then voluntarily rescinded it before re-applying a few months later.
There is a process in place to rezone a property and many factors to consider including environmental impact, adequate sewage needs, safety, and us – the neighbours’ concerns too. It takes time to address all the concerns of stakeholders and the the city and the process shouldn’t be rushed because of their choices.
Making the changes to the property and then pressuring staff and council to go ahead and approve it because of the work already done and monies spent (all of which was their choice to do without prior approval) would set a dangerous precedent. We should be careful not to create a culture in Colwood where residents adopt a “do it first and ask for forgiveness later” attitude, thus circumventing the entire bylaw and zoning approval process. After all, that’s why there are zoning regulations in the first place, isn’t it?