We must come together to preserve green space

We must come together to preserve green space

Your Aug. 29 article Habitat Backs Out of Housing Plan missed the crucial issue surrounding this proposed project.

Affordable Housing is a desirable goal, but sacrificing the only zoned park in Sooke’s town centre is not the way to build a happy and healthy community. Affordable housing means living in smaller and denser spaces. This means that neighbourhood green space protected through park zoning becomes essential.

It is a poor argument to say that nothing gets done in Sooke because of bureaucratic delays. Making changes to an Official Community Plan and rezoning a park to multi-family residential deserves a lot of forethought.

Part of our democratic process means that there must be meaningful public consultation with the real possibility that the proposed change may not be accepted. Public consultation should not be rushed for the benefit of a developer, even a not-for-profit one. It’s not the job of Sooke to quickly green light controversial projects.

As a volunteer organization, the Sooke Lions Club is fatigued and no longer wishes to maintain the park. Sooke is now at a size where it needs to slowly take over ownership of parks owned and operated by volunteer organizations and secure these parks for future generations. Otherwise the next volunteer organization that needs funding will apply to rezone their park. This is the issue that our community faces.

It is time for the District of Sooke and the Lions Club to work together and come up with an ownership solution that preserves this essential green space.

Helen Ritts and Rob Martin