The developer of Nelson Landing is asking the city to set aside its own planning rules so that he can built the largest possible housing units along John’s Walk.
He wants to build a very narrow street (seven-metre) with no parking, and no sidewalks. He also wants to fill the lots with a 60 per cent footprint instead of the 45 per cent mandated by the city.
The area from the end of Sproat Drive to Red Sands beach is used by many people. It’s a busy place. This narrow paved road will become a thoroughfare for bikers, walkers, and people driving out to the beach. Imaging a narrow street without sidewalks seems ridiculous. There will be a pathway built along the water, but it will not be passable in the winter. It will also not be used by people trying to get out to Red Sands beach.
The city council votes on Monday March 24 to approve these variances. I ask the council to think carefully about what precedent it would set for development here by allowing these variances to pass.
* * *
I understand that City Council will be voting, next Monday, on the package of variances requested by the Nelson Landing developer. I know that there has been quite a push-back, by the community, asking that the developer go back to the drawing board and design an area that includes sidewalks (for pedestrian safety), realistic parking plans, and complies with current by-laws.
I am one of those speaking against the request for variances because I believe there should be a sidewalk/walkway through the development on John’s Walk, through the proposed multiple 8-plexes and onward toward Red Sands Beach. Most importantly, I’d like to point out that I (we) are not promoting sidewalks as much as we are promoting walking.
I believe that healthy communities have safe places for neighbourhood walking. Walking is the best bang-for-your-buck way to exercise and stay healthy. We are speaking out for community planning that includes safe walkways and green spaces.
Around the world, cities are undertaking initiatives to reclaim and create greener, more pedestrian/bike friendly pathways, yet in Nelson, a new development is being proposed that will be less green than our current by-laws recommend.