1708 Barrie Road

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 2:47 PM

1708 Barrie Road: Gordon Head Residents Association (GHRA) Response to Referral on Revised Application

We acknowledge Saanich Planning’s response of December 11, 2020 to our questions on the revised application to rezone and subdivide 1708 Barrie, to create two new lots for a total of three lots. Thank you for accepting our suggestion that the existing driveway become a proper road dedication to become part of Torquay Drive. The plan to design this north end of Torquay Drive to be similar to Brymea Lane will be attractive addition to the neighbourhood. Road improvements should include street signage (Barrie Road/ Torquay Drive), removal of the existing wood fence on the treed median,  and widening of the paved portion of the east road allowance to match the width of the western portion. These costs should be paid by the developer/applicant, not the general taxpayer. 

Regarding our suggestion that the storm drain right of way to the shoreline be available as a possible future public access to Cordova Bay, the GHRA questions your intent to request that the “Provincial Approving Officer at the Ministry of Transportation waive the requirement for an access as per Section 75  (c) (1)  of the Land Title Act due to slope hazard.” (The correct Land Title Act reference appears to be S. 75 (1) (c ) (i).) First, we question the statutory authority to grant such an exemption, as the subject of such exemptions are “highways” which are further defined as public streets, paths, walkways, trails, lanes and any  other public ways. We would appreciate an explanation of how this storm drain right of way can be included in the definition of “highway” , as it is our understanding that it would not be available for access by the public at the time of subdivision. 

Even if the statutory authority exists for such an exemption, the GHRA objects to having Saanich proactively prohibit the possibility of any future public access to Margaret and Cordova Bays at this location. As we noted in our March 12, 2020 response to the first application, this section of Margaret/Cordova Bay is likely the longest stretch of ocean frontage in Greater Victoria that lacks public access.  You note that a geotechnical report has been submitted—presumably by an engineer or geoscientist retained by the applicant—stating that the steep slope to the beach is unsuitable for any structures due to slope failures. While we recognize there are slope stability issues along much of Gordon Head’s shores, there are always engineering/geotechnical solutions, as evidenced by Saanich’s issuance of building permits for new cliffside houses above Cordova Bay along Mount Douglas Parkway, and the construction of revetment structures to prevent erosion and landslip below Durling Place.   

Prohibiting any possible future waterfront access at this location would also be contrary to the official Community Plan. Referring to Map 10, “Trails”, Barrie Road and Torquay north of Ash are both designated “Existing Major Trails”, as is the shoreline immediately below the embankment north of this corner, running west to the Mount Douglas Park beach stairs. “Parks and Trails” Policy 2 refers to the need to link parks and public open spaces together by trails, where feasible, and Policy 13 promotes working with private land owners to acquire trail rights of way or easements to complete the trails network and encourage the donation or bequest of privately owned lands.   

If Saanich does proceed with an exemption application to the Ministry of Transportation, please reference our objection in the application and provide the GHRA with a copy, should we wish to present the provincial Approving Officer with our position. 

In our view, an application to permanently prohibit any future waterfront access by the public at this location sets a poor precedent, is legally questionable, and violates the Official Community Plan, particularly when there is no parkland dedication or cash in lieu payment as a condition of the subdivision of this large waterfront parcel.  

Chris Poirier-Skelton, Chair

Gordon Head Residents’ Association