ROCKLAND ONE

MAYOR HOPELESS – Given that Bellefleur Park is such a controversial project, and chambers tonight is fully loaded with speakers for and against the motion, I thought we’d depart from our usual procedure and play a little game of On the One Hand/On the Other Hand. The FOR side, you’re up first.

FOR – On the one hand, I’m a longtime resident of Rockland and would love to downsize from my McMansion and still stay in the neighbourhood.

AGAINST – On the other hand, other longtime residents have found this whole process so stressful that one senior even likened it to a home invasion.

FOR – On the one hand, Magic Mike and the team at Absurd Properties have a proven track record of building quality projects.

AGAINST – On the other hand, the scale and massing of this project is excessive.

FOR – On the one hand, the property is on a transportation corridor.

AGAINST – On the other hand, the property is also the gateway to historic Rockland.

FOR – On the one hand, residents won’t need a car, but can walk or bike downtown.

AGAINST – On the other hand, Pentrelew is a narrow, twisting little street. Eighty-three units and nearly two hundred occupants is bound to lead to more congestion.

FOR – On the one hand, I’m a supplier for Absurd Properties and stand to benefit if this project gets the green light.

AGAINST – On the other hand, are you familiar with the term “conflict of interest?”

FOR – On the one hand, Rockland must do its part in helping Victoria achieve greater density.

AGAINST – On the other hand, Lisa promised to respect neighbourhoods. She betrayed us.

FOR – On the one hand, the various active transportation options for residents will result in lower emissions, thus making this a healthy community.

AGAINST – On the other hand, how can you argue that cutting down one of Victoria’s last remaining urban forests is healthy for the community?

FOR – On the one hand, Magic Mike has said he will replace the trees.

AGAINST – On the other hand, replacing a one hundred year old sequoia with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree is hardly a fair exchange.

FOR – On the one hand, I’m here representing Generation Squeeze, and I’m in favour of the project.

LISA HOPELESS – On the other hand, that surprises me. I thought GenSqueeze would be against the project since it basically offers nothing for young professionals who want to live and work downtown.

FOR – On the one hand, what can I say? I’m a millennial. Not much that millennials do makes sense.

LISA HOPELESS – On the other hand, true enough.

FOR – On the one hand, the Pemberton trail will run through the development, allowing downtown to connect with Craigdarroch Castle.

AGAINST – On the other hand, does such a trail even exist or is it a figment of the speaker’s imagination?

FOR – On the one hand, Absurd Properties consulted extensively with immediate neighbours.

AGAINST – On the other hand, they cherry picked the ideas and didn’t offer any significant modifications to their plans.

FOR – On the one hand, Absurd is donating ten units of below market rate housing at their Black & White project.

AGAINST – On the other hand, you’d have to be a fool to believe that.

FOR – On the one hand, I’ve lived in Chicago and Tokyo and the density being discussed tonight is nothing compared to those places.

AGAINST – On the other hand, who in Rockland has ever said they wanted to live in Chicago or Tokyo?

FOR – On the one hand, I just graduated from UVic but had to move back in with my parents because I couldn’t afford a place of my own. This project adds to Victoria’s housing supply.

AGAINST – On the other hand, maybe if your parents hadn’t moved here from Hong Kong we wouldn’t have a housing supply problem in the first place.

FOR – On the one hand, the plans call for a pocket park of trees on Fort Street.

AGAINST – On the other hand, it feels like we’re paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.

FOR – On the one hand, change is inevitable.

AGAINST – On the other hand, we look forward to changing certain members of council in the next election.

FOR – On the one hand, older residents must look beyond the present and towards the needs of generations to come.

AGAINST – On the other hand, I want to ensure that some of the beauty of Rockland remains for my grandkids.

FOR – On the one hand, this project offers a mix of housing options, from three bedroom condos to townhouses.

AGAINST – On the other hand, this project is the perfect example of what happens when real estate becomes a commodity instead of serving the needs of the people.

FOR – On the one hand, if this project is turned down and Absurd adheres strictly to the zoning allowed in the OCP, we might find ourselves faced with something far worse.

AGAINST – On the other hand, if there hadn’t been site specific zoning, the building on Fort Street would only be four stories, not six. We are giving the developer two extra stories, and demanding very little in return.

FOR – On the one hand, perfection is the enemy of good enough.

AGAINST – On the other hand, sometimes good enough isn’t good enough.

FOR – On the one hand, this is not just a decision about what’s good for the residents of Rockland, but what’s good for the city of Victoria.

AGAINST – On the other hand, let’s not forget almost four hundred Rockland residents signed a petition against this development.

FOR – On the one hand, this process has been going on for two years now. It’s time for council to finally make a decision.

AGAINST – On the other hand, not only is council making a deal with the devil, it’s a bad deal. In exchange for an increase in density from 6,000 square meters to 10,000 square meters, the developer is offering the city a paltry $250,000 towards affordable housing. When you consider the project is going to be worth close to a hundred million, that’s peanuts.

LISA HOPELESS – I’d like to thank everyone for participating in tonight’s edition of On the One Hand/On The Other Hand. Considering it’s nearly one o’clock and Councillor Curmudgeon is starting to nod off, we will be postponing our decision on the project until next week.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – It’s gonna be a tough one.

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – And might possibly even cost one or two of you a seat at the next council table.