Ominous Sign?

Much has been touted about generous stream setbacks and green space by supporters of Neighbourhood One in Silverdale.  Numbers such as 40% tree canopy have been spread about in full page attack adds and editorials, in attempts to win public support and discredit those with environmental concerns or questions. Unfortunately, this 40% number is a lie.  When asked directly at the public hearing, city staff confessed that the number includes yards for houses (whether they are treed, paved, or whatever), and the actual tree canopy is closer to 25% of the forested hillside. The “generous” stream setbacks were revealed to be the minimum allowed under the law, this despite the presence of 5 endangered species which depend on this critical habitat. Perhaps most damning of all, scientists from both the federal Department of Fisheries and the provincial Ministry of the Environment have publicly stated that they cannot support the current plan as it poses too high of a risk to the area’s fish and wildlife.

Citizens have raised another red flag, warning that areas designated as natural open space on the city’s Official Community Plan can be erased with the stoke of a council pen, as was done for another developer earlier this month.  A concerned citizen wrote us the following letter:

Dear Sir,
Re: Proposed Development would see 47.5 acres used as part of trails. [Carol Aun, 29th Jan. 2009]
Council, Proponents and all  pro development  minded people have always promoted the development of Neighbourhood One of Southwest Mission as being the “Best and Greenest Ever”, in that there would be 40% of Green Space/Parks [inclusive of Environmentally Sensitive Areas] remaining after the development was finished. 
The much touted 40 % is nothing short of wishful thinking and deception. This was demonstrated by Council, 2nd Feb.2009, that authorities can circumvent  previously  sanctioned plans, irrespective of what the Official Community Plan [O.C.P.] displays .  It is an example of how Public Space and Parks  could end up much reduced in size, and a point of principle  honouring the commitment of Councils’ word. 
Besides which, altering the O.C.P.,  and granting variances on a frequent basis, begs the question, why have any O.C.P. At all? The O.C.P.completed in 2008 cost the taxpayers of Mission $ 200,000, no small change for a plan that is so malleable.
Land that is designated Open,Public Space, Parks etc.should remain so in perpetuity for the benefit of all  and it should never be traded off just to enable a few to become billionaires. The same applies to agricultural land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
So wake up Mission, your children’s children are being sold down the river!!
Yours faithfully,