A predictable shock wave reverberated throughout Royal Oak upon finding out that the proposed 242-unit Doral Forest Park condo development was approved to go to public hearing in a 7-2 vote by Saanich council.
The widely held views of the neighbourhood had already been made abundantly clear. Overwhelming passionate pleas came from neighbours to not side with a developer whose self-serving objective is to maximize financial gain, apparently regardless of neighbourhood values. Surely, a public hearing will yield exactly the same public outcry to uphold reasonable and responsible development. And so, one can’t help but wonder whether the outcome of the public hearing is predetermined.
The life of a developer can be challenging and contentious. Those who are out of sync with deeply ingrained and cherished community values … and planning documents that, while adopted some time ago, continue to accurately reflect today’s neighbourhood values … will live on to fight future battles.
The path of a politician can be more perilous. Those who stray in misguided directions are vulnerable to the consequence of being defeated in the next election when the popular vote upholds the ultimate power of democracy. It is those dedicated to responsible governance and who are aligned with the wishes of the majority that are rewarded with community respect and a legacy of longevity.
Will the fundamental principle of democracy prevail at the public hearing, as one would rightly expect and deserve, or be delayed until the collective view of Royal Oak residents is recognized and validated in the next civic election?